Beyond the Graven Image: A Jewish View by Lionel Kochan

By Lionel Kochan

The biblical prohibition of pictures units Judaism aside, including Islam, from all different non secular structures. This publication 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 picking features of Jewish considering with regards to such key thoughts as holiness, symbolism, mediation among guy and God, aesthetics and the position of reminiscence in faith. Why is song the only artwork 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 picture there's greater than meets the eye.

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This again emphasises the precise equivalence between the twilight of the idols (,disenchantment') and enlightenment. To the extent that God's 'anti-religion' succeeds, man's 'religionitis' is destroyed (Rosenzweig, page 3 above). The Biblical Challenge 29 What is then disclosed will be the promise of an antithesis to a reified world of nature whence all possibility has been expelled. Biblical enlightenment and an open future belong together. This struggle is waged on a multitude of fronts. het Micah brings together witchcraft, soothsaying, idol-worship, sacred pillars, man's obeisance to his own handiwork (Micah 5:11-12).

85 The association between disenchantment and aniconism is made in terms of a twofold prophetic turn 'in an anti-aesthetic direction'. The first is determined by the rejection of orgiastics and magic: 'prophecy re-interprets spiritually the originally magically conditioned Jewish reserve at "image and likeness" from out of its absolutely supraworldly conception of God'. Ro 'At all times there has only been one means to break images and impose the rationalisation of life and conduct - great rational prophecies ...

15 Better to destroy the holy than to idolise it. To convey the notion of matter as non-sentient, nonresponsive to human desire and undifferentiated, Hebrew To Limit the Holy 35 uses the term ':ol. This has 'sand' as its literal meaning, thereby conveying the notion of neutral expanse, in the sense of denying any distinction to any part of matter. 16 It is an outstanding characteristic of lfol- sand - the 'natural' state of the world - that its extent lacks all defining characteristics; it is therefore possible to conceive of frontiers, borders, and space in general as indeterminate, intermingled entities; certainly not as fixed and defined portions of territory.

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