Art History and Visual Culture Program, Middle Eastern Studies Program, Classical Studies Program, and Interdisciplinary Study of Religions Program Present
Disorientation as Worship: A Different (Re)view of the Dura-Europos Synagogue
Thursday, March 9, 2023
Chapel of the Holy Innocents
5:30 pm EST/GMT-5
Karen Stern, Professor of History, Brooklyn College
The synagogue discovered in Dura Europos in 1932/1933 shocked archaeologists, scholars of ancient Syria, and students of ancient Jewish history. The interior fac;ade of the assembly hall of the building was preserved to an unprecedented degree, projecting color- ful paintings of stories from the Hebrew Bible, including images of Pharoah's daughter rescuing a baby Moses from a basket in the Nile. Existence of these murals both advanced the efforts of excavators and historians who sought to understand ancient life in Dura and transformed studies of art history more generally, by challenging a longstanding allegation that Jews, historically, were a "people without art." Scholars of past decades have followed suit, continuing to emphasize the paintings from the assembly hall at the expense of other documented findings from the synagogue. This talk, however, takes a different approach. By drawing renewed attention to additional artifacts from the building, including burial deposits, amuletic ceiling tiles, and ancient graffiti, it suggests that there is more to the synagogue than that which initially meets the eye.
For more information, call 845-758-7258, or e-mail [email protected].
Time: 5:30 pm EST/GMT-5
Location: Chapel of the Holy Innocents
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