From the Bible to Modern Israel
The menorah, the seven-branched candelabrum, has traversed millennia as a living symbol of Judaism and the Jewish people. Naturally, it did not pass through the ages unaltered. The Menorah explores the cultural and intellectual history of the Western worlds oldest continuously used religious symbol. This meticulously researched yet deeply personal history explains how the menorah illuminates the great changes and continuities in Jewish culture, from biblical times to modern Israel.
Though the golden seven-branched menorahs of Moses and of the Jerusalem Temple are artifacts lost to history, the best known menorah image survives on the Arch of Titus in Rome. Commemorating the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, the arch reliefs depict the spoils of the Temple, the menorah chief among them, as they appeared in Tituss great triumphal parade in 71 CE. Steven Fine recounts how, in 2012, his team discovered the original yellow ochre paint that colored the menorahan event that inspired his search for the history of this rich symbol from ancient Israel through classical history, the Middle Ages, and on to our own tumultuous times.Surveying artifacts and literary sources spanning three thousand yearsfrom the Torah and the ruins of Rome to yesterdays newsFine presents the menorah as a source of fascination and illumination for Jews, Samaritans, Christians, and even Freemasons. A symbol for the divine, for continuity, emancipation, national liberation, and redemption, the menorah features prominently on Israels state seal and continues to inspire and challenge in surprising ways.
Steven Fine's The Menorah is a remarkably comprehensive and accessible study of this most ancient of all Jewish symbols, from its Biblical roots in Ancient Near Eastern culture through its Roman re-casting and Christian appropriation down to its contemporary uses and misuses by Israeli messianic extremists and anti-semitic parties in the former Soviet Union. By drawing upon his extensive training as a scholar of Rabbinics, archaeology, and Jewish art history, Fine has been able to produce not only an unprecedented study of a Jewish icon, but the basis for a meditation upon the nature of visual iconicity itself in Jewish culture.--David Stern, Harvard University
||The Menorah From the Bible to Modern Israel
||Harvard University Press|
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