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VI Jewish Symbols

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Chapter Summary

This chapter talks about the menorah, the showbread table, the ark, the ritual objects, and the conch, which are uniquely Jewish symbols, expressing profound and significant values of the religion. The ritual objects-the shofar, lulav, ethrog, and incense shovel or vase-frequently accompany the menorah in ancient Jewish art; they appear first in the Diaspora, from the third century CE, on the arched lintel of the Dura Europos niche and in the Jewish catacombs in Rome. In the Land of Israel they appear in the 3rd-4th century CE Beth She‘arim cemetery on two marble slabs and on lead sarcophagi. Avigad maintains that these motifs were probably imported from the Diaspora, and furnish added proof for his theory that they were generally used by the Diaspora Jews, who felt the need to emphasize their identity.

Keywords:Jewish art; Menorah; ritual object



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