Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
In Art & Judaism in the Greco-Roman World: Toward a New Jewish Archaeology, Steven Fine tackles the question of what ancient Jewish art meant to the people who experienced and made it.
Throughout the last century, many questioned the existence of a Jewish art. To most German art historians, Jews were not a nation and hence could not possess an art of their own, and Protestant scholars considered ancient Judaism the forerunner of their own non-iconic religious beliefs. Archaeological finds in the late nineteenth century, however, demonstrated the existence of a rich Jewish artistic tradition in ancient times.
Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012
Iconoclasm in eighth- and ninth-century Byzantium is often presented as a straightforward, universal policy that was widely enforced. Do the works in the exhibition support such a view?
Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Scholars have debated whether Saint Shenoute of Atripe lived from 332–451 or 350–466—an astonishing length of time in either case—but all agree that he was one of the most important monastic reformers the Coptic Church has ever known.
Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Most surveys of Islamic art proceed chronologically or geographically to synthesize several centuries of material covering a region stretching from Spain to Afghanistan. Oleg Grabar's book, The Formation of Islamic Art, instead focuses on the earliest centuries of Islam thematically.
Posted: Monday, April 16, 2012
The words "pilgrimage" and "sacred space," one evoking human movement and the other performative space, are inseparable from one another. Through pilgrimage, the pilgrim embarks on a spiritual path toward the full submission to God in an often-distant sacred space.
Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Umayyad qusur, or desert "palaces," are known for their variety of architectural styles and decoration. One example, Qusayr ‘Amra, is arguably one of the best known on both counts.
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Today we perceive Judaism and Christianity as totally separate religions, but in Border Lines: The Partition of Judeo-Christianity, author Daniel Boyarin describes the process in which "borders" were created to divide what was once a unified "Judeo-Christianity," and the rich cultural interactions that took place between Jews and Christians even as the divisions between them were erected.
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The exhibition contains a number of letters that reveal the movement and flow of ideas throughout the territories of the Byzantine empire, including Egypt.
Posted: Monday, April 9, 2012
Saint Catherine's Monastery—officially "Sacred and Imperial Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount of Sinai"—located in the Sinai Peninsula, is one of the oldest functioning Christian monasteries.
Posted: Thursday, April 5, 2012
Struggles of succession plagued the community of Muslims in the decades after Muhammed's death in 632 A.D. The first four Muslim leaders, known as the Rashidun, or "Rightly Guided" caliphs, did not succeed by birth, but rather were chosen by council or because of a personal relationship to the Prophet. The period was marked by strident disagreements about legitimacy of individual caliphs and about the proper practice of Islam.