Religious Art: A Judeo-Christian Tradition

A lot of contemporary Christians tend to believe that Jews and Christians of late antiquity were strictly iconoclastic.  This is not at all true, though it would take Christianity until the ninth century to solidify the allowance of such art.  Prior to that, many Jews and Christians utilized art and others debated whether such was appropriate.  In the eighth and ninth centuries, the debates came to a head.  You may read more about that in the Church History Series 1 posts.  What I thought I’d share with readers today is a recent find in Israel relating to a synagogue from late antiquity, which included a mosaic of Sampson:


2 Responses

  1. Roslyn. Gordon

    I have question about the term Judeo-Christain art. As far as I know, until modern times Jews were not permitted to use icons nor imagery in religious context. If the Judeo part of the phrase refers to images of old testament text for example Michaell Angelo’s. Moses, then to use the term Judeo is really a misnomer as there was no Judeo art until very modern times.

    1. Gordon, please forgive my tardiness in replying to your comment. I hope you’re still following the site. It is a common misconception that Jews did not use imagery. This of Exodus. The ten commandments are given, as are orders for artistic representations. Think of the ark of the covenant. Think of the bronze serpent. Yet, even after this, there was imagery used, as archaeological excavations have demonstrated. Art was utilized in early synagogues. In fact, Christians may have been more conservative on this issue because synagogues sometimes utilized pagan art.

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