The Nation without Art: Examining Modern Discourses on Jewish Art

By Margaret Olin | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER FIVE
“Jewish Christians” and “Early Christian” Synagogues
The Discovery at Dura-Europos and Its Aftermath

The Synagogue [at Dura-Europos] brings to vivid expression the vigor and the piety, the high aspiration and the dignity of a relatively small and unimportant Jewish community of the eastern Dispersion in a frontier garrison city. At the same time through this one structure we can look out into a vast panorama of historical development and relationships, finding new insights suggested everywhere. Here we find new suggestions for an understanding of the growth and development of synagogue architecture. Here the history of Jewish piety and of the development of its interpretative tradition is freshingly illumined. Here the ancient Jewish use of art is restored to its rightful place in the total picture of ancient Judaism. Here we see in a new light the common front which Christianity and Judaism held against paganism, and the relationship between Jewish and Christian art. Carl H. Kraeling in The Synagogue: The Excavations at Dura-Europos

-127-

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