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Apocalyptic Themes in the Monumental and Minor Art of Early Christianity

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Chapter Summary

Biblical apocalyptic texts provided material to enhance the visionary experience of paradise in funerary art, and in the minor arts. The process of enhancement took place in an evolutionary way and in different parallel traditions. Ezekiel's vision of the future temple with its palm trees was also an important source: his vision contributed to the formation of the concepts of paradise and the transmission of a new law to a Christian authority. In the East, where the book of Revelation was often regarded with suspicion, Ezekiel played a more prominent role as a source for apocalyptic works of art. Early Christian apocalyptic works tend to be flexible in their treatment of sources. Biblical inspiration can at times be quite specific and literal, but usually apocalyptic works of art display conspicuous divergences from the texts.

Keywords: biblical apocalyptic texts; book of Revelation; early Christianity; Ezekiel's vision; funerary art

10.1163/9789004256934_012
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