By Lionel Kochan
The biblical prohibition of pictures units Judaism aside, including Islam, from all different non secular platforms. This booklet makes an attempt to give an explanation for the explanations for the prohibition - in addition to its limits - after which indicates how influential it's been in choosing points of Jewish pondering relating to such key innovations as holiness, symbolism, mediation among guy and God, aesthetics and the function of reminiscence in faith. Why is tune the single paintings to which Judaism is hospitable? Is Judaism a faith of the ear instead of the attention? what's the actual factor at stake within the age-old debate among Jerusalem and Athens? How do those concerns relate to the iconoclastic pursuits in Byzantine Christianity and the Reformation? Lionel Kochan makes transparent that to the prohibition of the graven photo there's greater than meets the eye.
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Additional info for Beyond the Graven Image: A Jewish View
Instances when parts of the world of matter are hallowed, in the sense that they are considered sentient and responsive, do abound. Kabbalists and mystics, such as Nal)manides, people the world of matter with animate forces. In his comments to Exodus 20:3 (,You shall have no other gods before me') and DeuteTonomy 18:9 (,You shall not learn to imitate the abhorred practices') Nal)manides maintains that in fact sorcery can be effective. But it is precisely for this reason that it must be repressed, so that the world may remain 'in the simple nature as desired by its creator'.
Incidentally, the protracted nature of this process ensures that later generations will suffer from the errors of their forebears. The postulate of a vengeful God arises from the need to disavow a purely human responsibility for disaster. The experiment, indicated above, takes place in a divinely designated area, which, by virtue of this very fact of designation, becomes that area where earth and heaven meet in the guise of a tabur - navel. 62 In this respect the Temple at Jerusalem might bear comparison with the Kaaba in Mecca or the temple of the Pythian oracle at Delphi.
And although it has been established (AZ 44a) that although they were doing this it was not idolatry and it was not necessary to break the serpent .... but because Hezekiah saw that Israel was erring after it he arose and broke it so that they should not stumble .. 14 Perhaps however, the most daring statement on the impermissibility of confusing respect for the holy with an idolatrous attitude towards it belongs to R. Meir-Siml)a Cohen of Dvinsk: his context is the breaking by Moses of the Tablets of the Law.
Beyond the Graven Image: A Jewish View by Lionel Kochan