Lecture: Prof. Lee Levine on "Why Did Jewish Art Flourish in Late Antiquity? Timing and Context"

Cohen Chapel

The study of ancient Jewish art is a relatively new field fueled by ongoing archaeological discoveries. Only in late antiquity (third to seventh centuries CE) did Jewish art begin to flourish in a dramatic fashion.

By the Byzantine era (fourth to seventh centuries CE), religious symbols, biblical motifs, and even clearly pagan mythological motifs—especially the zodiac signs and the image of Helios—graced many synagogue mosaic floors in ancient Palestine. This lecture will focus on the political, social, and religious reasons for such a dramatic change, and will address the variety of ways in which Jewish communities, which were wholly autonomous and diverse, grappled with such developments.

Lee Levine received his doctorate from Columbia University.  Since his aliyah to Israel in 1971, he has been on the faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the Departments of Jewish History and Archaeology and is now Professor Emeritus.

Prof. Levine has written some 215 articles and thirteen books, including his most recent volume, Visual Judaism in Late Antiquity: Historical Contexts of Jewish Art, which was published by Yale University Press in 2012.

Co-sponsored by the Foundation for Jewish Studies. Part of the Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman Distinguished Scholar Series. Free, but please register at http://www.foundjs.org/events.html.

Ohr Kodesh Congregation

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