Historical Contexts of Jewish Art
by Lee I. Levine
A new type of Jewish art emerged in Late Antiquity, when artists produced visual depictions that had not existed earlier within a Jewish context - figural images (including pagan motifs), biblical scenes, and religious symbols. Visual Judaism locates this phenomenon in the wider context of Late Antiquity, revealing new insights into the role of visual culture in Jewish society, in which individual communities determined what forms of artistic expression would be displayed in their synagogues. Following introductory chapters surveying Jewish art over fifteen hundred years, down to the third century CE, author Lee I. Levine focuses on the wealth of archaeological, artistic, and textual material from the third to seventh century, demonstrating how this artistic activity responded to new historical circumstances.