Ivory Pomegranate

The Ivory Pomegranate is a thumb-sized decorative object acquired by the Israel Museum. A Hebrew inscription is engraved around the shoulder of the thumb-size pomegranate that reads, "Holy to the priests, (belonging) to the Temple of [Yahwe]h."

Some researchers believe it adorned the High Priest sceptre within the Holy of Holies. They also consider it a genuine artifact proving the existence of Solomon's Temple.

The Ivory Pomegranate is a small ornamental bone object engraved with a short inscription in paleo-Hebrew. The inscription is inscribed in circular fashion along the shoulders of the pomegranate which is the shape of the fruit in blossom stage.

The ivory pomegranate is a priceless Semitic artifact from 13th century BCE and its inscription probably dates from the 8th century BCE.

The pomegranate was popular as a cultic object and was not unique to the worship of Yahweh.

The thumb-sized ivory pomegranate measuring 44 millimetres (1.7 in) in height, bears an ancient Hebrew inscription that reads, depending on the point chosen as the beginning in the circular inscription, "Belonging to the Temple [literally 'house'] of ---h, holy to the priests" or "Sacred donation for the priests of [or 'in'] the Temple [literally 'house'] of ---h".

Inscription on the ivory pomegranate

"[Belonging] to the Temple of [Yahwe]h, consecrated to the priests"

Inscribed Pomegranate from Solomon's Temple
Ivory, 8th century BCE
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The thumb-sized pomegranate is believed to be the only existent relic from Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. Around the shoulder of the pomegranate there is a carefully incised inscription in early Hebrew characters, part of which is broken off, which reads: "qodes kohanim I-beyt [yahwe]h". "Sacred donation for the priests of (in) the House of [Yahwe]h." "House of Yahweh" most probably refers to the Temple in Jerusalem. The pomegranate was Solomon's favorite motif and decorated the capitals of the two freestanding columns at the entrance to the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 7:21).

An Amazing Artifact. The tiny ivory pomegranate is an ancient relic and can be seen on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. If you ever visit the museum, just ask for the pomegranate. Everyone knows exactly where it is kept, under high tech surveillance. Postcards and small jewelry items of the pomegranate are available in the museum store. A little booklet accompanies the jewelry with the following inscription: "This piece of jewelry is an actual-size replica of an ivory pomegranate, dating to the 8th century BCE, probably a remnant from Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, the only existing artifact from the First Temple known to us today. The ancient Hebrew inscription reads: Belonging to the Temple of (Yahveh) Holy to the Priests." (Discovery News, 2006).

Prof. Roman's Conclusions, 2008. An Israeli scientist employed by the defense in the Jerusalem forgery trial has concluded that the inscription on the famous ivory pomegranate ("[Belonging] to the Temple of [Yahwe]h, consecrated to the priests") is authentic.
If the inscription is authentic, the pomegranate is probably the only surviving artifact from Solomon’s Temple.
Professor Yitzhak Roman of the Hebrew University examined the pomegranate under a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) to reach his conclusions. In the 1990s he was the academic director of Hebrew University’s SEM.
A committee led by Tel Aviv University’s Yuval Goren had previously concluded that the inscription was a forgery because three critical letters adjacent to an ancient break stopped before the break. The forger was apparently fearful of breaking off more of the pomegranate if he went too close to this fracture. The pomegranate itself is admittedly genuine. However, Professor Roman’s examination showed that the three critical letters, contrary to Yuval Goren’s finding, did in fact go into the ancient break.
This was the same conclusion reached by an examination of the pomegranate at the Israel Museum sponsored by the Biblical Archaeology Society on May 3, 2007: The three letters clearly go into the break.
In addition, Professor Roman examined the patina inside the letters of the inscription. The committee that found the inscription to be a forgery had concluded that this patina was somehow glued into the surviving letters of the inscription. Professor Roman found 11 different elements (some just trace amounts) in the natural patina. But he found no evidence that the patina had been glued (Anchor Stone International, 2009).

The ivory pomegranate was discovered in 1979 by André Lemaire. Many scholars believe the ivory pomegranate is the only artifact that survived from Solomon’s temple (first temple period). The inscription, which was partially destroyed, reads “Holy to the priests, belonging to the Temple of Yahweh.” It currently resides in the Israel Museum.
The ivory pomegranate came under fire as a forgery. The collector who owned them, Oded Golan, was indicted on forgery charges. The trial lasted ten years and the court determined that the Israeli Antiquities Authority had not proved that the artifacts were forged. To the contrary, many famous scholars have already given their stamp of authenticity to the pomegranate (Biblical Archaeology, 2012).

André Lemaire, "Une inscription paleo-hebraique sur grenade en ivoire," Revue Biblique, Vol. 88, pp. 236-239.
_____. "Probable Head of Priestly Scepter from Solomon’s Temple Surfaces in Jerusalem," Biblical Archaeology Review, January-February 1984
Don D. Srail, Pomegranate or Almond Bud, 19.1.1997
Is This Inscription Fake?, Biblical Archaeology Review, September-October 2007
Yitzhak Roman, Text on a Pomegranate, Case no. 482/04, District Court, Jerusalem: Expert's Opinion, The Institute for Technology and Forensic Consulting Ltd., 10.12.2008
"Leading Israeli Scientist Declares Pomegranate Inscription Authentic", Biblical Archaeology Review, 16 December 2008; repr. Anchor Stone International, 23 April 2009
"The Ivory Pomegranate, Artifact from Solomon’s Temple", Biblical Archaeology, 19 March 2012.


Kuntillet Ajrud

Kuntillet Ajrud is a 9th-8th century BCE site in the northeast part of the Sinai peninsula.[1] It is frequently described as a shrine, but this is not certain.[2]

The site was investigated in 1975-76. The fortress-like main building is divided into two rooms, one large and the other small, both with low benches. Both rooms contained various paintings and inscriptions on the walls and on two large water-jars ("pithoi"), one found in each room. The paintings on the pithoi show various animals, stylised trees, and human figures, some of which may represent gods. They appear to have been done over a fairly considerable period and by several different artists, and do not form coherent scenes. The iconography is entirely Syrian/Phoenician and lacks any connection to the Egyptian models commonly found in Palestinian art.[3]

Ceramic fragment
Kuntillet Ajrud, Negev, 9th century BCE
Motifs painted on a jar known as "Pithos A"

The inscriptions are in a mix of Phoenician and Hebrew script. The unique Hebrew inscriptions can be divided unto several types: inscriptions incised on pottery vessels before, or after, firing; inscriptions incised on the rims of stone bowls; ink inscriptions on wall plaster and, together with drawings, on large pottery vessels. All of these are unique in Iron Age Israel both in quantity and variety.[4] Many are religious in nature, invoking Yahweh, El and Baal, and two include the phrases "Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah" and "Yahweh of Teman and his Asherah."[5] There is general agreement that Yahweh is being invoked in connection with Samaria (capital of the kingdom of Israel) and Teman (in Edom); this suggests that Yahweh had a temple in Samaria, and raises a question over the relationship between Yahweh and Kaus, the national god of Edom.[6] The "Asherah" is most likely a cultic object, although the relationship of this object (a stylised tree perhaps) to Yahweh and to the goddess Asherah, consort of El, is unclear.[7]

J.A. Emerton, "New Light on Israelite Religion: The Implications of the Inscriptions from Kuntillet Ajrud," Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft Berlin, 1982, vol. 94, no1, pp. 2-20: Kuntillet Ajrud, ca. 50 km au sud de Kadesh-barnea, carrefour de pistes caravanières du Sinaï septentrional. Importance théologique de deux inscriptions sur jarres qui y furent trouvées (cf Z. Meshel, 1979): YHWH smrn wlsrth et YHWH tmn wsrth. Meshel les date d'avant ou d'après 800 av. J.-C. et lit: "YHWH de Samarie et son Ashera" et "YHWH de Teman et son Ashera". L'A. discute la question de syntaxe: la règle "en hébreu biblique un nom propre ne peut être à l'état construit", pour laquelle l'expression YHWH Sevaot fait problème. Les inscriptions de Kuntillet Ajrud confortent la justesse de la traduction classique "YHWH des Armées". L'expression "YHWH de Samarie" vient d'un voyageur originaire de Samarie et évoque le culte de YHWH tel qu'il y était célébré. YHWH de Téman évoque la tradition de YHWH "venu des montagnes d'Edom". Quant à Ashera, dans ces inscriptions, elle est probablement le symbole en bois de la déesse de ce nom, dont l'association avec le culte de YHWH est attestée dans l'AT. Peut-être, dans la religion populaire, pouvait-elle être considérée comme la parêdre de YHWH.

La critique historique et les découvertes épigraphiques et archéologiques des dernières décennies convergent sur le fait qu’on ne peut, à l’époque de la royauté, parler de judaïsme pour décrire les systèmes religieux en Israël et en Juda. Les inscriptions de [...] Kuntillet Ajrud ont confirmé que Yahvé n’était pas un dieu célibataire, mais associé à la déesse Ashérah, [...] comme l’ont suggéré tout récemment Na’aman et Lissovsky de l’université de Tel Aviv.[8]

Some scholars, including William G. Dever, have asserted that the Asherah was worshipped as a consort of Yahweh, until the 6th century BCE, when strict monolatry of Yahweh became prevalent in the wake of the destruction of the temple.[9] However, the consort hypothesis has been subject to debate with numerous scholars publishing disagreement.[10]

Meaning in the Fragment
by Mariano Akerman

The material found at Kuntillet Ajrud should be taken cautiously and perhaps seriously, but only up to a certain point. Israelites kept the Law, but they occasionally had unexpected twists, including plenty of humor too. The area in which the fragments have been found is relatively far from Jerusalem. It is possible that the individual who depicted "YHWH with His Asherah" was in a sense kidding. That individual was of course not an Israelite priest, but possibly a soldier. That individual pressumably knew about Abraham's response to idolatric polytheism, yet was not entirely for it. Significantly, the graffiti of the Kuntillet Ajrud fragment is popular in character and bold in its insinuations. It presents three figures, yet their identity remains unclear. The sitting figure playing the harp looks feminine. The standing ones do not. Moreover, the standing figures appear to have identical male genitalia. Is YHWH blatantly in the nude? And is "Asherah" a woman or a man? According to the fragment inscription, the "Asherah" depicted is YHWH's one. Supposing that YHWH is the big man standing on the left of the fragment, then who is "His Asherah"? One possibility is to consider the figure playing the harp to be Asherah, while YHWH has apparently arrived "home" with His "Closest Friend". Then one gets some kind of triangular relationship, perhaps speaking for a ménage à trois. But, there is also another possibility that may suit better the tongue-in-cheek aims of the certainly not-entirely-Jewish individual who represented these three Kuntillet Ajrud figures: in the fragment, the figure depicted as the closest to YHWH has been provided with male genitalia and this suggests that "His Asherah" is a male. Thus, the Kuntillet Ajrud fragment can be a provocation testing the very foundations of what opportunely was to become the Abrahamic Nation, whose Singular Being it considers but also mocks in various levels. Concerning the Asherah in the Kuntillet fragment, a popular saying may come to one's mind, "If your grandpa were not a man, he would have been your grandma." Although given the specific genitals of the Kuntillet figure depicted by the side of YHWH, another saying, which is undoubtedly vulgar, may fit this case better: "If your grandma had balls, she'd be your grandpa."[11] Significantly, even if objecting any of these possibilities, one should keep in mind that the Kuntillet Ajrud framgment is probably an early, paleo-Hebrew expression of a strong desire that was going to reappear among some Israelites again and again. Such desire will eventually find expression in terms of paradoxical humor much later, as for example in the double-edged Yiddish holding that if eating pork, one should do it thoroughly.[12]


1. Robert Karl Gnuse, No Other Gods: Emergent Monotheism in Israel, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997, pp. 69-70
2. Judith M. Hadley, The Cult of Asherah in Ancient Israel and Judah: Evidence for a Hebrew Goddess, Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge Press, 2000, pp. 108ff
3. Othmar Keel and Christoph Uehlinger, Gods, Goddesses, and Images of God in Ancient Israel (Göttinnen, Götter und Gottessymbole, 1992), Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998, pp. 210ff
4. Ze'ev Meshel, Kuntillet Ajrud: An Iron Age Way-Side Religious Center in Sinai, The Shelvy White Leon Levy for Archaeological Publications, Harvard, 2006 (accessed 20.1.2012).
5. Anthony Bonanno, Archaeology and Fertility Cult in the Ancient Mediterranean, University of Malta, 1986, pp. 238ff
6. Keel and Uehlinger, p. 228
7. Ibid, pp. 232-33
8. Nadav Na’aman and Nurit Lissovsky, "Kuntillet ‘Ajrud, Sacred Trees and the Asherah," Tel Aviv, 35, 2008, pp. 186-208 (Thomas Römer, De nouvelles visions sur les récits bibliques des origines, CDF, Paris, 5.2.2009).
9. William G. Dever, Did God Have A Wife?: Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel, Eerdmans, 2005; and Judith Hadley, The Cult of Asherah in Ancient Israel and Judah, pp. 122–136
10. A. Shmuel, "Did God Really Have a Wife?", Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol. 32 (2006), pp. 62–66; Mark S. Smith, The Early History of God, Yahweh and Other Deities in Ancient Israel, Eerdmans, 2002, p. xxxii–xxxvi; John Day, Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan, Sheffield Academic Press, 2002, pp. 50–52; André Lemaire, "Who or What Was Yahweh’s Asherah?," BAR, 10:06, Nov/Dec 1984; Kuntillet ‘Ajrud, Mercer Bible Dictionary, Mercer UP, 1991, pp. 494–494; Othmar Keel, Christoph Uehlinger, Gods, Godesses, and Images of God in Ancient Israel, Fortress Press, 1998, p. 237; J.A. Emerton, "Yahweh and His Asherah": the Goddess or Her Symbol?," Vetus Testamentum, Volume 49, Number 3, 1999 , pp. 315–337(23).
11. For obvious reasons, this saying is sometimes expressed as "If grandma had a beard, she would be a grandpa" (Oyb di bobe volt gehat a bord, volt zi geven a zeyde; YiddishWit.com, #8), but the idea it conveys is ultimately the very same.
12. Ez men est khazer zol rinen ariber der bord (Yiddishisms), "If you eat pork, let it run down your beard"; Az men est khazer, zol es shoyn rinen ibern moyl, "If you're going to eat pork, eat it till your mouth drips" (YiddishWit). Both tongue-in-cheek sayings convey the idea that if one is going to do what's forbidden, at least is supposed to enjoy it to the hilt.

Further discussion
André Lemaire, Date et origine des inscriptions hebraïques et pheniciennes de Kuntillet Ajrud, 1984
Kathryn QannaYahu, Kuntillet Ajrud Inscriptions, Lebtahor, accessed 29.1.2012
Sects and Violence in the Ancient World, 2009-11
Ignatz Bernstein, Ignatz Bernstein, Yidishe Shprikhverter un Redensarten, Warsaw, 1908; repr. Jüdische Sprichwörter und Redensarten (Jewish Proverbs and Sayings), Wiesbaden: Fourier Verlag, 1988
YiddishWit Resources


The Mosaic Experience: Arts and Letters

Khirbet Qeiyafa ostracon, Elah Valley (near Beit Shemesh), 11th century BCE

Solomon's Temple, Jerusalem, 957 BCE

Archaeologists have uncovered many remains of synagogues from over two thousand years ago, including several that were in use before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Synagogues securely dated to before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem include the Migdal Synagogue, the ancient synagogue at Gamla, the synagogue of Capernaum, the Herodium synagogue, the synagogue of Qumran, and the small synagogue at the top of Masada.

Beit She'arim Village, North Galilee, 9th century BCE

Inscribed Pomegranate from Solomon's Temple, ivory, 13th century BCE; inscription dated 8th century BCE. Israel Museum, Jerusalem. It bears the inscription Sacred to the Priest of the House of God (YHWH). It may well be an ornament on the High Priest sceptre within the Holy of Holies, and thus a genuine artifact proving the existence of Solomon's Temple.

Kuntillet Ajrud ceramic motifs, fragment, Negev, 8th century BCE. Motifs painted on a jar known as "Pithos A."

Silver scroll fragment from Ketef Hinnom Tombs, Jerusalem, 7th century BCE. The two silver scrolls found present quotations from the Book of Numbers inscribed into the silver and written in ancient Hebrew characters. Apart from their significance for the actual knowledge of the development of the Hebrew alphabet, the scrolls preserve the earliest known citations of texts also found in the Hebrew Bible and are the earliest examples of confessional statements concerning Yahweh.

Hebrew manuscript. Dead Sea Scrolls, Qumran, 125 BCE. Parchment. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 at Khirbet Qumran, on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name. The texts are of great religious and historical significance, as they include the oldest known surviving copies of Biblical and extra-biblical documents and preserve evidence of great diversity in late Second Temple Judaism. They are written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, mostly on parchment, but with some written on papyrus. The manuscripts generally date between 150 BCE and 70 CE. The scrolls are traditionally identified with the ancient Jewish sect called the Essenes, and include The Great Isaiah Scroll, The Temple Scroll, The War Scroll, The Community Rule Scroll, and The Commentary on the Habakkuk Scroll.

Delos Synagogue, Greece, 2nd century BCE

King David's mosaic, Marot Village, Galilee, 1st century BCE

Shekel of Israel
Inscription: "Jerusalem the Holy"
First year of the Jewish Revolt against Rome, 66 CE

Jericho Synagogue, Wadi Qelt, 1st century BCE
Gamla Synagogue, Golan Heights, 1st century BCE

Korazim Synagogue, Galilee, 1st century CE [+]

Menorah motif, Ostia Antica Synagogue, Italy, 1st century CE

Sardis Synagogue, Turkey, 2nd century

Kfar Bar'am Synagogue, Galilee, 2nd-3rd century CE

Dura-Europos Synagogue frescoes, Syria, 244 CE
Wheel of Fortune mosaic, Hamat Tiberias Synagogue, 3rd century
Ein Guedi Synagogue mosaic, 3rd century
Susya Synagogue, Judea, 4th century CE
Menorah mosaic, Ma'on Village, Judea, 4th century
Lions of Judea mosaic, Hamat Gader Synagogue, Yarmouk river region, 4th century
Gaza Synagogue mosaic, 4th century

Tzippori: Menorah, lulav, and shofar
Menorah mosaic, Tzippori Synagogue, Upper Galilee, 5th century

The Binding of Isaac and Hebrew Wheel of Fortune mosaic, Beit Alpha Synagogue, Mt Gilboa, 6th century
Menorah mosaic, Maoz-Hayim Synagogue, Beit Shean, 6th century
Menorah mosaic, inscr. "Peace upon Israel," Shalom al Yisrael Synagogue, Jericho, Jordan Valley, 6th century

Katzrin Synagogue, Golan Heights, 6th century

Judæo-Persian Slichah (Jewish Penitential Prayer), written in Hebrew, ink on paper leaf, 8th century CE. Discovered in 1908 in the Dunhuang Mogao Caves of Gansu Province, China. Now held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris (Dunhuang Manuscripts, Pelliot hébreu 1).

Khazar Warrior with Captive, gold relief, Atil, 850 CE

Aleppo Codex, Hebrew Bible, 930 [+]
Keter Aram Tzova

Shmuel ben Ya'akov, Leningrad Codex, Hebrew Bible, 1008 [+]

Paleolithic (Old Stone) Age = 1,500,000-14,000 BCE
Epipaleolithic (Mesolithic, Middle Stone) Age = 14,000-8,000 BCE
Neolithic (New Stone) Age = 8,000-4,500 BCE
Chalcolithic (Copper Stone) Age = 4,500-3,200 BCE
Bronze Age = 3,200-1,200 BCE
Iron Age = 1,200-586 BCE (Biblical Period of the Judges/Israel/Judah)
Babylonian period = 586-539 BCE
Persian period = 539-332 BCE
Hellenistic period = 332-63 BCE
Roman period = 63 BCE-324 CE
Byzantine period = 324-640 CE

Assorted resources

List of Artifacts Significant to the Bible
Ivory Pomegranate
Hebrew manuscripts [+]
Oldest Synagogues in the Land of Israel
Oldest Synagogues in the World
Judaism in Art

Abel Pann, And Sarah Laughed, pastel, 1925

Manuscripts by area
Egyptian papyri
Mawangdui Silk Text, Chinese manuscript, 168 BCE


Abrahamic Nation

Abrahamic religions are the monotheistic faiths trace their common origin to Abraham and recognize a spiritual tradition identified with him. They are one of the three major divisions in comparative religion, along with Indian religions (Dharmic) and East Asian religions (Taoic). As of the early twenty-first century, it was estimated that 54% of the world's population (3.8 billion people) considered themselves adherents of the Abrahamic religions, about 30% of other religions, and 16% of no religion.

The three major Abrahamic religions are, in chronological order of founding, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Judaism regards itself as the religion of the descendants of Jacob, a grandson of Abraham. It has a strictly unitary view of God, and the central holy book for almost all branches is the Tanakh (sometimes refered to as the Hebrew Bible), as elucidated in the oral law.
Christianity began as a sect of Judaism in the Mediterranean Basin of the 1st century CE and later became into a separate religion with distinctive beliefs and practices. Jesus is the central figure of Christianity, considered by almost all denominations to be divine, typically as one person of a Triune God. The Christian Bible is usually held to be the ultimate authority, alongside Sacred Tradition in some denominations such as Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.
Islam arose in Arabia in the 7th century CE with a strictly unitary view of God. Muslims (adherents of Islam) typically hold the Qur'an to be the ultimate authority, as revealed and elucidated through the teachings and practices of a central, but not divine, prophet, Muhammad. Less well-known Abrahamic religions, originally offshoots of Shi'a Islam, include the Bahá'í Faith and Druze.

Ephraim Lilien, "Abraham," Die Bucher der Bible, 1908

The three main Abrahamic religions have certain similarities. All are monotheistic, and conceive God to be a transcendent Creator-figure and the source of moral law, and their sacred narratives feature many of the same figures, histories and places in each, although they often present them with different roles, perspectives and meanings. They also have many internal differences based on details of doctrine and practice. Christianity remains divided into three main branches (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant), dozens of significant denominations, and even more smaller ones. Islam has two main branches (Sunni and Shi'a), each having a number of denominations. Judaism also has a small number of branches, of which the most significant are Orthodox, Conservative and Reform. At times the different religions—and often branches within the same religions—have had bitter conflicts with each other.

It has been suggested that the phrase, "Abrahamic religion", may simply mean that all these religions come from one spiritual source. Christians refer to Abraham as a "father in faith" (Romans 4). There is an Islamic religious term, Millat Ibrahim (The Nation of Abraham), indicating that Islam sees itself as having practices tied to the traditions of Abraham. In addition to Jewish direct birth descendancy from Abraham, adherents follow his practices and ideals as the first of the three spiritual "fathers", Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
All the major Abrahamic religions claim a direct lineage to Abraham.
Abraham is recorded in the Torah as the ancestor of the Israelites through his son Isaac, born to Sarah through a promise made in Genesis 17:16. All variants of Judaism through the early 20th century (prophetic, rabbinic, reform, and conservative) were founded by Israelite descendants.
The first part of the Christian Bible is the "Old Testament," which is a modified form of the Jewish Hebrew Bible, leading to the same ancestry claim as above.
It is the Islamic tradition that Muhammad, as an Arab, is descended from Abraham's son Ishmael. Jewish tradition also equates the descendants of Ishmael, "Ishmaelites", with Arabs, as the descendants of Isaac by Jacob named Israel are the "Israelites".
Other terms sometimes used include Abrahamic faiths, Abrahamic traditions, religions of Abraham, Abrahamic monotheistic religions, Semitic religions, Semitic monotheistic religions, and Semitic one god religions.
However, the term "Abrahamic faiths", while helpful, is also misleading. It conveys an unspecified historical and theological commonality that is problematic on closer examination. While there is commonality among the religions, in large measure their shared ancestry is peripheral to their respective foundational beliefs and thus conceals crucial differences. For example, the Christian and Islamic belief in the prophetic position of Jesus is not shared by Judaism; Christian beliefs of Incarnation, Trinity, and Jesus' Resurrection are accepted by nither Judaism nor Islam.

Something in Common: The Centrality of Jerusalem

A view of Jerusalem, not far from the Foundation Stone

Judaism. Jerusalem became Judaism's holiest city in 1005 BCE when David established it as the capital of Israel, and his son Solomon built the First Temple on Mount Moriah. Since the Hebrew Bible relates that Isaac's sacrifice took place there (on the Foundation Stone), Mount Moriah's importance for Jews pre-dates even these prominent events. Jews thrice daily pray in its direction, including in their prayers pleas for the restoration and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple (the Third Temple) on mount Moriah, close the Passover service with the wistful statement "Next year in built Jerusalem," and recall the city in the blessing at the end of each meal. Jerusalem has served as the only capital of all five Jewish states that have existed in Israel since 1400 BC (the United Kingdom of Israel, the Kingdom of Judah, Yehud Medinata, the Hasmonean Kingdom, and modern Israel). It has been majority Jewish since about 1852 and continues through today.
Christianity. Jerusalem was an early center of Christianity. The Pagan Romans under Emperor Vespasian, in order to end the First Jewish Revolt, used forces lead by Vespasian's son and heir to the throne, Titus to lay siege to Jerusalem, sack the city, and destroy the Second Temple in 70 AD (eventually building a shrine to Jupiter Capitolinus in its place). In 135 AD, under Hadrian, as a response to another Jewish revolt against Roman rule (the Third Jewish Revolt of Simon Bar Kochba), the Romans further expelled all Jews from the area, after three revolts in 70 years, to ensure another revolt was not forthcoming. This is when the area surrounding Jerusalem, until then called Roman Judaea, first was given the name "Palestine", or "Syria Palaestina". There has been a continuous Christian presence there since. William R. Kenan, Jr., professor of the history of Christianity at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, writes that from the middle of the 4th century to the Islamic conquest in the middle of the 7th century, the Roman province of Palestine was a Christian nation with Jerusalem its principal city. According to the Gospel, Jerusalem was the city Jesus was brought to as a child to be presented at the temple (Luke 2:22) and for the feast of the Passover (Luke 2:41). He preached and healed in Jerusalem, unceremoniously drove the money changers in disarray from the Temple there, held the Last Supper in an "upper room" (traditionally the Cenacle) there the night before he is said to have died on the cross, was arrested in Gethsemane. The six parts to Jesus' trial—three stages in a religious court and three stages before a Roman court—were all held in Jerusalem. His crucifixion at Golgotha, his burial nearby (traditionally the Church of the Holy Sepulchre), and his resurrection and ascension and prophecy to return all are said to have occurred or will occur there.
Islam. Jerusalem, the city of David and Christ, became a very holy place to Muslims, like Mecca and Medina. The Al-Aqsa mosque, which translates to "farthest mosque" in sura Al-Isra in the Qur'an, and its surroundings are addressed in the Qur'an as "The Holy Land". Later Muslim tradition as recorded in the ahadith identifies al-Aqsa with a mosque in Jerusalem; nothing in the Qur'an supplies this connection (nor a connection to the Dome of the Rock). The first Muslims did not pray toward Mecca, but toward Jerusalem: the qibla was switched to Mecca as part of a complete break with Judaism, when it became obvious that the Jews would not accept Muhammad as a prophet. Another reason for its significance is its connection with the Miʿrāj, where, according to Muslim tradition, Muhammad ascended through the seven heavens on a winged mule named Buraq, guided by the Archangel Gabriel, beginning from the Foundation Stone on the Temple Mount, in modern times under the Dome of the Rock.

Further discussion
Christian Visual Imagery

Abraham smashes the idols


Christian Visual Imagery

Some facts and considerations

Sacred Heart
What is the aim of the visual images in the Catholic religion? Are they some sort of idolatry? Don't they contradict the example of Abraham, who in the pagan Chaldea destroyed the idols his father fabricated? Do such images transgress the notions expressed in the Commandments? See Exodus 20:3-5 and Deuteronomy 5:7-9
Considering the traditional idea of Imitatio Christi, are the images used in the Catholic religion compatible at all with Jesus's own example? Moreover, did Jesus ever bow down to an idol?

Jesus was respectful of the Mosaic tradition: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God" (Exodus 20: 3-4 and Deuteronomy 5:7-8).

And the same concerns the Apostles, did they ever pray to images showing Jesus or the Virgin Mary?

Catholic imagery: Res católica in Museo de San Juan, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Virgin of Puy, Sacred Heart Virgins, Allegory of the Triumphant Church and Nocturnal Virgin.

Do the images of the Catholic church relate to idolatry? Yes? No? Why?

The pagan legacy: the beautiful as the good and the true

A nineteenth-century sentimentally-conceived Jesus. The image transmits tenderness but also a colonialist ideal that is both Eurocentric and racist.

Iconographic abuse: a fashionable phenomenon

Iconographic appropriation and abuse of Christian imagery: The Passion of the Christ is used by Gibson to promote sadomasochism in extremis; Buddy Christ is practically a cartoon character; Mary transformed into a disposable container; Santa Claus crucified under the Star of Bethlehem; Jesus smiles while showing a tattoo with a Latin cross that literally penetrates the heart of God the Father; Jesus as soccer trainer; the Virgin of Guadalupe and the Lamb of God decorating ordinary wrist watches.

"Buddy Christ" scene from Kevin Smith's film Dogma, 1999. Cardinal Glick: "Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now we all know how the majority and the media in this country view the Catholic church. They think of us as a passe, archaic institution. People find the Bible obtuse... even hokey. Now in an effort to disprove all that the church has appointed this year as a time of renewal... both of faith and of style. For example, the crucifix. While it has been a time honored symbol of our faith, Holy Mother Church has decided to retire this highly recognizable, yet wholly depressing image of our Lord crucified. Christ didn't come to Earth to give us the willies... He came to help us out. He was a booster. And it is with that take on our Lord in mind that we've come up with a new, more inspiring sigil. So it is with great pleasure that I present you with the first of many revamps the "Catholicism WOW!" campaign will unveil over the next year. I give you... The Buddy Christ. Now that's not the sanctioned term we're using for the symbol, just something we've been kicking around the office, but look at it. Doesn't it... pop? Buddy Christ..."

Pseudo-scientific speculation: adding salt to the wounds

Hypothetic reconstruction of Jesus' appearance, United Kingdom, BBC, 2001.[1] Unlike the nineteenth-century Euro-Jesus, this one is from the Middle East and his features recall those of a primitive man who escaped some a natural sciences museum.

"The exercise in reconstruction is pointless." -Catherine Bennett, The Guardian

For a discussion, see Giles Wilson, So What Colour was Jesus?, BBC News Online Magazine, 27.10.2004; Forensic Image, Rejesus, Faces of Jesus; and Mike Fillon, The Real Face of Jesus, Popular Mechanics, 7.12.2002.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Youth Jew portrayed as Christ, oil, 17th century. Inviting meditation, Rembrandt's painting suggests the triumph of spirituality over matter. The image is not supposed to be worshiped but contemplated.



Unprecedented: Abraham and the Idols

Aniconism is the practice or belief in avoiding or shunning images of divine beings, prophets or other respected religious figures, or in different manifestations, any human beings or living creatures. The term aniconic may be used to describe the absence of graphic representations in a particular belief system, regardless of whether an injunction against them exists.

The Second Commandment: "You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 You shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my Commandments." Exodus 20:4-6

Aniconism is a particular case of representation (the absence of images) and taboo (the prohibition of images). One of its aspects expresses the absence of images, while the other may contain an injunction conceived to regulate their absence. An avoidance and repugnance of representations is called iconophobia. When unformalized predispositions or clearly stated legislations are put in practice and enforced, leading to the removal and destruction of representations, the aniconism becomes iconoclasm. Aniconism relates also to censorship, which takes place after a representation was already produced, but before, or shorthly after, it is made public, and also involves less violence than iconoclasm. In common usage, "aniconism" is used to designate the absence of paintings and statues, "taboo" characterizes behaviours, "censorship" is applied to written materials and "iconoclasm" to the destruction of paintings and statues.

Aniconism is a gradual phenomenon, having appeared at various times in many cultures across the world and within the same culture during its history. It is usually restricted to specific circumstances of space, time, object or modality. The intensity of aniconism is characterized by periodicity.

The fundamental cause of aniconism is embedded in the problematic nature of representation itself. There is an unavoidable need to represent the world since this is how our cognition works. But what is the validity of a representation not perceptible to our biological senses of something outside their reach or immaterial--God, time, ultraviolet? Furthermore, how to present a general model by a specific occurrence? Everybody knows what a human looks like, but everyone will draw him or her in a different way. Because these are inherent and not transitory problems, they generate a perpetual search for solutions, making of aniconism a continuously fluctuating phenomenon.

Aniconism is best known in connection to Abrahamic religions. In monotheism, aniconism was shaped by specific theological considerations and historical contexts. It emerged as a corollary of seeing God's position as the ultimate power holder, and the need to defend this unique status against competing external and internal forces, such as pagan idols, critical humans, and mass society. Idolatry is a threat to uniqueness, and one way that prophets chose to fight it was through the prohibition of material representations. The same solution also worked against the pretension of humans to have the same power of creation as God (hence their banishment from the Heavens, the destruction of Babel, and the Second Commandment in the biblical texts, or the myth of the golem in Jewish literature).

Religious art and art with religious references make a substantial part of humanity's artistic production. As such, religious aniconism is in fact much about art. While not usually classified as aniconism, it occurs frequently in profane art, as a quantitative characteristic of amount of details present in objects. Extremes can range for example between the 18th century Rococo and the 20th century Minimalist art.

Working on various cultures, a group of modern scholars has gathered material showing that in some cases the idea of aniconism in religion may be an intellectual construction suiting specific intents and historical contexts.

In Africa, aniconism varies from culture to culture from elaborate masks and statues of humans and animals to their total absence. Yet, a common feature across the continent is that the "High God" is never given material shape. On the Germanic tribes, the Roman historian Tacitus writes that "They don't consider it mighty enough for the Heavens to depict Gods on walls or to display them in some human shape" (Publius Cornelius Tacitus, "9. Götterverehrung", Germania: De origine et situ Germanorum liber, Stuttgart: Reclam, 2000). But his observation is not a general rule: consider, for instance, Ardre image stones.

Abraham smashing the idols, 17th Century BCE

Abraham and the idols. According to Hebrew oral tradition and the Midrash (Midrash Bereishit Rabbah 38:13),[2] when Abraham was still a young child, he realized that idol worship was nothing but foolishness. One day, when Abraham was asked to watch his father's idol store. Abraham would call to the passersby, "Who’ll buy my idols? They won’t help you and they can’t hurt you! Who’ll buy my idols?" And when people came in and wanted to buy idols, Abraham asked, "How old are you?" The person said, "Sixty". Abraham responded, "Isn't it pathetic that a man of sixty wants to bow down to a one-day-old idol?" Then the man felt ashamed and left. Later, Abraham took a hammer and smashed all the idols - except for the largest. When his father came back and saw the broken idols, he was appalled. "Who did this?" he cried. And Abraham replied calmly: "It was amazing, Dad, the idols all got into a fight and the biggest idol won!" Rabbi Shraga Simmons explains that Abraham's idea was to show his father how ridiculous was to ascribe power to such idols. Indeed, there was no way for his father to respond; deep down he knew that Abraham had tuned into a deeper truth.[3] Significantly, the account of Abraham and idols can also be found in the Qur'an 21:51-70.[4]

A. Was the significance of Abraham being an idol smasher to challenge a tradition? Which?
B. Was Abraham right in smashing the idols? Why?
C. Do you challenge traditions?
D. Are people willing to challenge their own traditions? Or, do they mostly complain about other people's traditions and think their own are fine?
E. In what ways do you question tradition and in what areas are you less likely to question tradition?

1. For a debate, see What's so terrible about idolatry?,
The purpose and meaning of the Second Commandment
2. Azamra
3. Shraga Simmons, Abraham breaking idols, Ask the Rabbi in About.com
4. M.S.M. Saifullah, The Story of Abraham and [the] Idols in the Qur'an and Midrash Genesis Rabbah, Islamic Awareness, 2002-6; see also the additional comments.

Nimord's kingdom is about to face its greatest challenger in a young boy named Abraham. While little is known of Abraham's childhood in the Torah, the Midrash presents a mighty tale of this courageous boy who stands toe to toe against the most powerful ruler of the ancient world. Young Abraham, Montreal: Big Bang Digital Studios, 2011; Chabad.

On the night Abram is born, King Nimrod’s chief stargazer witnesses a cosmological phenomenon in the sky: one small star consumes four larger stars. The rays of this star shine down upon the house of the King’s general, Terakh, whose wife had just given birth to a baby boy named Abram. The prophecy discerned by the astrologer warns that his child will go against the gods and Nimrod’s mighty kingdom. Nimrod demands Terakh hand over his son. Terakh agrees, but deceives Nimrod by giving him a baby boy, born to a servant girl, while Amaslai flees with Abram to hide him in the wilderness.
Abram lives in the wilderness for 13 years and comes to believe in the one true Creator God. Knowing that his understanding is limited, Abram begins a journey to find a wise man who can teach him about God. So he returns to his family in Ur Chasdim, the seat of Nimrod’s kingdom.
Abram comes face to face with the foolishness of idolatry. As a 13 year old, he does his best to combat idolatry but finds himself in big trouble after destroying all the idols in the family’s idol shop. General Terakh hands his son over to the kings soldiers for arrest and certain death. Yet God intervenes and Abram miraculously escapes the city unharmed.
Abram continues his search for a wise man who can teach him about God and finds the wise Noach in the land of Canaan, who teaches him the ways of God. But Abram is not to remain in Canaan. The wickedness of the land cries out for God’s judgment as it did before the flood. Noach sends Abram back to Ur to challenge Nimrod and abolish idolatry before God’s patience is exhausted again.

Midrashic sources
A. Terach leaves idol shop and Avram had to take over. "The bigger the idol the higher the price!" – Midrash HaGadol Bereishis 11:28
B. Avram hit a hammer on idols heads. "Do you want this one or that one?" – Midrash HaGadol Bereishis 12:1
C. "I’m 60 and I want an idol!" "You want a one-day old idol?" – Bereishis Rabbah 38:8 (19)
D. "Thieves stole my idol!" "Can’t your idol protect itself?" The guy serves G-d after Avram says the thieves will return your things to you and they are returned. He tells many people what Avram did, and Nimrod has him killed – Bereishis Rabbah 38:19, Beis HaMidrash Cheder 1
E. Avram broke all the idols and placed a hammer in the biggest ones hand. Conversation with Terach – Bereishis Rabbah 38:8 (19), Midrash HaGadol Bereishis, SH


Aspectos do aniconismo identitário. Ivan Esperança Rocha, Imagem no judaísmo: aspectos do aniconismo identitário (Image in Judaism: Aspects of Indentity Aniconism), História, São Paulo, vol. 26, no. 1, 2007

A imagem tem recebido uma crescente atenção no âmbito das ciências sociais e humanas, particularmente no campo da historiografia, o que se depreende de inúmeros eventos e publicações nivelem âmbito nacional e internacional. As imagens, ou fontes visuais, começam a ser tratadas como uma importante evidência histórica, e igualadas em valor à literatura e documentos de arquivos.1 Em vez de seu valor afetivo e subjetivo que tinha caracterizado a Antiguidade e a Idade Média, buscam-se agora conhecimentos mais sistemáticos e consistentes sobre elas. Demonstra-se que os fatos sociais se refletem em mecanismos visuais.2
A cerâmica, manuscritos com pinturas, imagens soltas de propaganda política e religiosa, quadros, estátuas, fotografias ou simplesmente material visual ganham uma importância não mais apenas ligada às suas qualidades estéticas mas à sua capacidade de representar os imaginários sociais e de evidenciar as mentalidades coletivas.3 "No estudo das sociedades antigas, a iconografia, neste seu significado mais amplo de material visual, assume um papel de destaque, particularmente, quando não se tem a contrapartida da documentação escrita ou quando esta é lacônica", como se verifica na iconografia funerária ou templária do Egito.4
Por outro lado, na cultura judaica, bem próxima do Egito, no espaço e no tempo, o acesso a dados provenientes da iconografia é muito limitado.5
Os judeus consideraram sua religião e seu código religioso de comportamento um elemento essencial de sua identidade e de sua sobrevivência ante os inúmeros momentos de dispersão em que foi envolvido. Entre as leis do corpo normativo israelita se encontra uma proibição de produzir ou conservar imagens com o intuito de preservar uma idéia de monoteísmo, que iria de certa forma represar a arte israelita durante séculos. A proibição, inicialmente ligada à reprodução de ídolos estrangeiros, acaba se estendendo a outros tipos de representação iconográfica, particularmente ligada à figura humana – considera-se o homem criado à imagem de Deus, que vigorou, com uma certa intensidade, praticamente até as portas da Haskalah, o iluminismo judaico, iniciado em fins do século XVIII.
A normalização da proibição de imagens em Israel encontra-se no livro do Êxodo: "Não farás para ti imagem de escultura, nem semelhança alguma do que há em cima, nos céus, nem embaixo, na terra, nem nas águas debaixo da terra" (20,4). Esta proibição faz parte da legislação religiosa de Moisés e pode ser entendida, dentre outros textos, por meio de Isaías: "A quem havereis de comparar a Deus? Que semelhança podereis produzir dele?" (40,18).
Em um ambiente permeado por cultos idolátricos (Ex 20,5; 34,15, Sl 44,21, 1 Rs 11,8ss, 19,18, Jr 7,18, Is 10,10), os judeus querem se distinguir pela ausência de imagens de Javé. Assim, com raras exceções, com veremos mais adiante, fica proibida a produção de efígies da divindade israelita.6 Isso, no entanto, não vai banir a presença de imagens. Uma das estratégias nesse sentido será a utilizada por Salomão que passa a contratar artistas externos à comunidade israelita para a construção e embelezamento do Templo de Jerusalém, como é o caso de Hiram, um artista de Tiro que tinha grande habilidade no trabalho com bronze (1 Rs 7,13-14). Entende-se, assim, que a proibição não atingia os artistas estrangeiros e dessa maneira se pode justificar a presença de figuras de querubins e leões nos painéis do Templo (1 Rs 7,26).
Uma outra razão da presença de imagens entre os judeus envolvia o casamento dos reis israelitas com estrangeiras que traziam consigo seus cultos e seus deuses.7 De fato, as descobertas arqueológicas trouxeram à tona uma série de iconografias do período bíblico, como sinetes com figuras de animais, plantas e outros objetos e figuras em argila de nus femininos, estas muito comuns em Jerusalém.
Sinagogas do período próximo à destruição do Templo, em 70 d.C., possuem decorações com figuras geométricas e de plantas; entre os judeus que participaram da revolta de Bar-Kokhba contra os romanos, em 135 d.C., foram encontrados vasos decorados com faces humanas; mas para que se evitasse seu uso como objetos idolátricos os olhos foram apagados.8
No entanto, mesmo com relação à proibição da representação de Javé, existem exceções, como se verifica numa fortaleza, em Kuntillet 'Ajrud, na Península do Sinai, onde foram encontrados graffiti com imagens de Iahweh ao lado de sua Ashera.9

Fragmento de cerâmica
Kuntillet Ajrud, sul do Negev, séc. [IX-]VIII a.C.

Pode-se dizer que os judeus foram mais tolerantes com imagens que não tivessem relações com o culto. Com o declínio do politeísmo helênico-romano, muitas sinagogas começam a usar motivos da iconografia pagã, adaptando-as às suas necessidades, assim como cenas bíblicas como as da sinagoga de Dura-Europos nas proximidades do rio Eufrates.10
No século VII, com a conquista do Oriente pelo Islamismo anicônico, os judeus voltam a abandonar as imagens, adaptando-se à nova situação. As constantes dificuldades postas pelo segundo mandamento podem ser vislumbradas no manuscrito judaico ilustrado, chamado Haggadah da Cabeça de Ave. O texto narra a história do êxodo do Egito, onde todas as figuras humanas são representadas por cabeças de pássaros para evitar a proibição icônica.
A discussão sobre a questão da imagem do Antigo Testamento é retomada no Talmude, uma compilação e adaptação de leis e tradições judaicas, realizadas entre 200 a.C. e 500 d.C., que consistem em 63 tratados de assuntos legais, éticos e históricos. O judaísmo ortodoxo baseia suas leis no texto do Talmude. Tem entre seus tratados um específico sobre imagens e ídolos, o 'Abodah Zarah.
De um lado, este tratado expressa uma rígida oposição aos ídolos, proibindo não apenas sua fabricação, mas até mesmo olhar e pensar neles (Tosefta, Shabbath 17,1 et passim; Berakhot 12b). Os ídolos não deviam ser apenas quebrados, mas jogados no Mar Morto para que não pudessem ser mais vistos ('Abodah Zarah 3,3). A madeira de uma asherah não podia ser usada nem para aquecer-se (Pesahim, 25a). Para evitar qualquer contato com os idólatras, os judeus não podiam relacionar-se comercialmente com eles pelo menos três dias antes de suas festas cultuais ('Abodah Zarah 1,1). Ficava proibido caminhar sobre uma rua pavimentada com pedras que tinham sido utilizadas para construir o pedestal de um ídolo ('Abodah Zarah 50a). Aos sábados era proibido até mesmo ler o que estava escrito sob uma pintura ou estátua ('Abodah Zarah 149).
Por outro lado, encontramos no Talmude posições mais abertas com relação às imagens. Não se proíbe qualquer imagem, mas apenas aquelas que tenham um cunho cultual. Estátuas de reis, em um ambiente em que não são consideradas objeto de culto, não são proibidas ('Abodah Zarah 40a). Imagens para ornamentação são permitidas. Qualquer figura dos planetas é permitida, com exceção do sol e da lua (quase sempre representados com cunho cultual) ('Abodah Zarah 43b). Uma asherah é uma árvore sob a qual se pratica um culto e, portanto, proibida. Se, no entanto, existir um altar de pedras sob ela, a árvore pode ser utilizada livremente ('Abodah Zarah 48a).
A ambigüidade do tratamento dado às imagens começa a declinar com a Haskalah, um movimento entre judeus europeus do séc. XVIII, conhecido como o iluminismo judaico, calcado nos valores iluministas, que buscou promover maior integração com a sociedade européia, ampliando o espaço da educação secular e definindo os rumos de um movimento político pela emancipação judaica.11
O movimento encontrou inicialmente oposição entre os judeus ortodoxos por julgarem que a Haskalah contrariava os princípios do judaísmo tradicional, mas não deixou de ter adeptos entre eles. Uma das idéias contrapostas pela Haskalah é a do messianismo, como a espera de um gesto miraculoso em favor dos judeus; o exílio judaico também deixa de ser interpretado como uma vontade divina, mas como resultado de fatores históricos.12 Outra influência foi nas artes, com uma ampla revisão de proibições tradicionais, particularmente no que se refere à proibição de imagens.
Como reflexo desse movimento, nos séculos XIX e XX vimos o surgimento de grandes artistas judeus como Marc Chagall (1887-1985) com seus esplêndidos vitrais das doze tribos judaicas conservados na Sinagoga do Hospital Hadassa de Jerusalém, e Lasar Segall, um judeu lituano radicado no Brasil que transformou sua casa em museu com um acervo em torno de 2.500 obras.
Deve-se dizer, no entanto, que a Haskalah, do ponto de vista artístico, foi precedida pela ação de judeus, que apesar de não se envolverem com a pintura já tinham se dedicado a outros tipos de expressões artísticas, como a joalheria, cunhagem de moedas e medalhas, ourivesaria, gravação em madeira, cerâmica, caligrafia e ilustração de manuscritos hebraicos, dentre outras.13
Numa exposição realizada no Museu Judaico de Nova York, de 18 de novembro de 2001 a 17 de março de 2003, foi apresentada e discutida a arte desenvolvida durante o processo de aculturação judaica no século XIX, sendo apresentada como uma das conseqüências da Haskalah.
Por fim, os judeus, ao se perguntarem se suas antigas leis ainda têm algum valor na atualidade, particularmente, se a proibição de imagens como objeto de culto ainda tem algum valor para a sociedade moderna, encontram uma resposta nas palavras de uma exegeta judia, Nechama Leibowitz (1905-1997), para quem o segundo mandamento ainda continua válido, dado que objetos e bens de materiais, ou a própria ciência, são guindados a uma posição de culto no mundo moderno.14

1 BURKE, Peter. "O testemunho das imagens," Testemunho ocular: História e imagem, Bauru: Edusc, 2004, p.15
2 MENESES, Ulpiano T. Bezerra de. "Fontes visuais, cultura visual, História visual: balanço provisório, propostas cautelares," Revista Brasileira História, v. 23, n. 45, 2003, p. 11ss.
3 CHARTIER, R. Imagens, in: BURGUIÈRE, A., Dicionário das Ciências Históricas, trad. Jayme Salomão, Rio de Janeiro: Imago, 1993, pp. 406-7
4 ROCHA, Ivan Esperança. Práticas e representações judaico-cristãs, Assis: FCL–Assis–Unesp Publicações, 2004, p. 29
5 LIVERANI, Mario. Antico Oriente: Storia, Società, Economia, Bari: Laterza, 2005, p.688-89
6 RAD, G. Eikôn von. In: Grande Lessico del Nuovo Testamento, ed. G. Kittel, Brescia: Paideia, 1967, v. 3, col. 143
7 EHRLICH, Car. Make Yourself No Graven Image: The Second Commandment and Judaism. In: Thirty Years of Judaic Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2004, pp. 254-71
8 YADIN, Yigael. Bar-Kokhba: The Rediscovery of the Legendary Hero of the Last Jewish Revolt against Imperial Rome, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971, p. 86-111 (Ehrlich, p. 261)
9 DEVER, William G. "Asherah, consort of Yahweh? New evidence from Kuntillet Ajrud," Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 255, 1984, p. 21ss
10 KRAELING, Carl H. "The Excavations at Dura-Europos Final Report 8/1," The Synagogue, New Haven: Yale University, 1956 (Ehrlich, p. 262ss
11 ROSENTHAL, Herman Peter. "Haskalah," The Jewish Encyclopedia, New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1901-1906, v. 8, p. 256-58
12 SHOENBERG, Shira. The Haskalah, Jewish Virtual Library (acesso 10.9.2006)
13 PASTERNAK, Velvel. Music and Art, Judaism.com (acesso 10.9.2006)
14 GROSSBARD, Sylvie. Shemot–Yitro, USY (acesso 3.11.2006).


Root and Branches

St Paul, Romans, 9: 1-5 "my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ"

Ibid., 11: 17-20 "if the root is holy, so are the branches. If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. [...] Do not be arrogant, but be afraid."