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Writings of ancient Jewish iconography?

Jackson02

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Its a well known fact that the Orthodox church derives its iconography from ancient synagogues, but are there any ancient writings by Jews attesting to the use of iconography in ancient synagogues? Rabbinical Jews of course reject this practice so it would be an eye opener.
 

Mercurius1

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I look forward to reading about this, the only extant work of Jewish iconography I can think of that’s still around are the synogigue ruins at Dura Europus in Syria
 

Jackson02

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Mercurius1 said:
I look forward to reading about this, the only extant work of Jewish iconography I can think of that’s still around are the synogigue ruins at Dura Europus in Syria
I've seen multiple other examples other than the Dura Europus. Here's a mosaic of the binding of Isaac from the Beit Alpha synagogue:



Many of these synagogues also have mosaics of the pagan deity Helios, how would the ancient Jews justify this?

 

Volnutt

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Maybe as just a poetic personification of the sun (especially given that the Zodiac, or the Mazzaroth as it's called in the Book of Job)?

Richard III has a Helios allusion, but Shakespeare was not a Greek pagan-

The weary sun hath made a golden set,
And by the bright track of his fiery car,
Gives token of a goodly day tomorrow
 

RaphaCam

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Jackson02 said:
Many of these synagogues also have mosaics of the pagan deity Helios, how would the ancient Jews justify this?

I'd say he's just seen as an antropomorphic representation of the Sun rather than a god. This is clearly the Zodiac.
 

Jackson02

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RaphaCam said:
Jackson02 said:
Many of these synagogues also have mosaics of the pagan deity Helios, how would the ancient Jews justify this?

I'd say he's just seen as an antropomorphic representation of the Sun rather than a god. This is clearly the Zodiac.
Interesting, Rabbinical judaism would never approve of this today,
 

Dominika

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RaphaCam said:
Jackson02 said:
Many of these synagogues also have mosaics of the pagan deity Helios, how would the ancient Jews justify this?

I'd say he's just seen as an antropomorphic representation of the Sun rather than a god. This is clearly the Zodiac.
Today a priest has shown me similar Orthodox fresco in one of Georgian churches: in the centre was Christ, and around Him, in circle, there were zodiac signs.
 

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Dominika said:
Today a priest has shown me similar Orthodox fresco in one of Georgian churches: in the centre was Christ, and around Him, in circle, there were zodiac signs.
I don't know what to think about that as a Christian, but as a curious person, this is amazing.
 

Volnutt

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Dominika said:
RaphaCam said:
Jackson02 said:
Many of these synagogues also have mosaics of the pagan deity Helios, how would the ancient Jews justify this?

I'd say he's just seen as an antropomorphic representation of the Sun rather than a god. This is clearly the Zodiac.
Today a priest has shown me similar Orthodox fresco in one of Georgian churches: in the centre was Christ, and around Him, in circle, there were zodiac signs.
I don't doubt that syncretism went into it for some, but it does make sense from a Biblical perspective:

Job 38:31-33 said:
“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades
    or loose the cords of Orion?
Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
    or can you guide the Bear with its children?
Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
    Can you establish their rule on the earth?"
"Mazzaroth" is a probable reference to the Zodiac.
 

Faithseeker

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Jackson02 said:
RaphaCam said:
Jackson02 said:
Many of these synagogues also have mosaics of the pagan deity Helios, how would the ancient Jews justify this?

I'd say he's just seen as an antropomorphic representation of the Sun rather than a god. This is clearly the Zodiac.
Interesting, Rabbinical judaism would never approve of this today,
Actually, I have to respectfully disagree. The zodiac has Kabbalistic interpretations and for this reason, the zodiac is still referred to and studied through this medium of interpretation by Rabbinic Judaism.
 

Volnutt

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How Rabbinical is the Kabbalah, though?
 

Volnutt

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It's ingrained in Hasidism, yes. But is Hasidism the whole of modern Rabbinical Judaism?

Then again, maybe I'm just chasing shadows.
 

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Coming from a Jewish background, I can honestly answer yes. Kabbalah is studied in every realm of Jewish seminaries and yeshivos - Chassidic, Charedi, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist.

It varies in each as to the degree in which it is studied but it is definitely a foundational study in Rabbinical Judaism.
 

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Faithseeker said:
Coming from a Jewish background, I can honestly answer yes. Kabbalah is studied in every realm of Jewish seminaries and yeshivos - Chassidic, Charedi, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist.

It varies in each as to the degree in which it is studied but it is definitely a foundational study in Rabbinical Judaism.
Ok. I'll defer to you.
 

Jackson02

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Faithseeker said:
Coming from a Jewish background, I can honestly answer yes. Kabbalah is studied in every realm of Jewish seminaries and yeshivos - Chassidic, Charedi, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist.

It varies in each as to the degree in which it is studied but it is definitely a foundational study in Rabbinical Judaism.
I come from a conservative Jewish background and my Rabbi didn't study the talmud. The reform Jews also reject the Talmud as overly zealous
 

Faithseeker

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That's very odd because one of the mandatory requirements from Conservative seminaries is Talmudic study. Not on the same level as Orthodox but considering the fact that Conservative Judaism is bound to the laws of kashrus in the synagogue at minimum (for example), Conservative Rabbis do study Talmud. Reform seminaries also study Talmud but do so as a pick and choose if you believe the teachings are important for today.

This topic is about iconography in Judaism and it was pointed out the topic of the zodiac and its relationship to Kabbalah. Kabbalah is indeed studied, even just in passing in minute amounts in both Reform and Conservative seminaries.

I went to a Reform seminary that was also connected to JTS - the Conservative seminary and we were taught Kabbalah and Talmud.  As were the students in other seminaries that were not yeshivos (Orthodox schools).
 

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Additionally, in regards to Jewish iconography, we simply need to look at the building of the tabernacle and the Temple, revealed by God that includes the Cherubim, etc.
 
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