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Sinai in art and architecture

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores how Sinai has been treated in the visual arts over the centuries by both Judaism and Christianity. Not all is as might be expected from either religion. So it will be important to examine some of the reasons behind changing approaches. Although the parody of Judaism uninterested in art till modern times has long since been discredited, it begins with Christianity because its history of visual engagement with what happened on Mt. Sinai is more continuous and better known. The chapter examines three types of approach: how Moses' role in mediating law is treated, the influence of the presumed place of revelation, and, finally, Moses as type or pattern and so as anticipatory of Christ. It then explores Jewish developments under two headings, first images in painting, then the use of the symbolism of Sinai in synagogue architecture.

Keywords: Christianity; Judaism; mediating law; Moses; revelation; Sinai; symbolism; synagogue architecture; visual arts



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