Abraham Upfront Frontality In The Dura Europos Narratives


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The narrative murals of Dura Europos, Syria (3rd Century) reveal the oldest Jewish figurative pictorial narratives. A closer study of the depiction of Abraham, poses some questions about the stylistic departure away from frontality.

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  • 1. Intro: The Torah Shrine at Dura Europos Synagogue , in Syria 3rd-century, is unusual, defying the historical regional use of human perspective, known as Frontality. In relation to this admission of Frontality in The Torah Shrine at Dura , the following research explores the entire meaning of the Narrative paining of The Dura Europos Torah Shrine , specifically to look for clues that will reveal deeper levels of understanding of cultural, social and political life for Jews who lived at Dura Europos. This presentation is a broader study of Dura as a site and its history, as well as the other Narratives found in the Dura Synagogue, archeological evidence, written document, and achievements of artistic and material culture in relation to these major Synagogue Narratives; will provide answers that help us understand why this case is unique in its admission of Frontality. Understanding the deeper significant meanings highlighted in this research will hopefully contribute to a larger dialogue about Ancient Jewish art and the role of Jews in art historically.
  • Abraham Upfront Frontality In The Dura Europos Narratives

    1. 1. Abraham Upfront: Frontality in the Dura Europos Narrative By Paige Dansinger
    2. 2. Palmyra Gate, Dura Europos
    3. 3. Map of Palestine, Madaba, 6 th -century Dura Europos
    4. 4. Dura Europos Blessing, The Dura Europos Liturgical Parchment. Western Wall, “Wall Street”, Dura Europos
    5. 5. Reconstructed interior of the house church at Yale, and Temple of Bel at Dura Europos. Temple of Mithras at Dura and Healing of the Paralytic mural in the house church Sacrificing to the Palmyrene Gods, Dura Europos
    6. 6. The Seleucid Empire: Seleucus Coin and Coin of Bagadates I , 290-280 BCE "Always lying in wait for the neighboring nations, strong in arms and persuasive in council, he [Seleucus] acquired Mesopotamia, Armenia, 'Seleucid' Cappadocia, Persis, Parthia, Bactria, Arabia, Tapouria, Sogdia, Arachosia, Hyrcania, and other adjacent peoples that had been subdued by Alexander, as far as the river Indus, so that the boundaries of his empire were the most extensive in Asia after that of Alexander. The whole region from Phrygia to the Indus was subject to Seleucus." — Appian , The Syrian Wars
    7. 7. Ancient Synagogues in the Diaspora Sardis, Delos, Tiberius, Aegina, Ostia, Capernaum,
    8. 8. Western Wall, Dura Europos Synagogue
    9. 9. Dura Europos Synagogue Reconstruction
    10. 10. The Torah Shrine, Dura Europos
    11. 11. The Binding of Isaac, Bet Alpha Synagogue Mosaic
    12. 12. The Zodiac Panel, Beth Alpha Synagogue Mosaic, 6 th -century
    13. 13. Infancy of Moses, Dura Europos The Exodus (detail), Dura Europos
    14. 14. Daniel and the Lions , Sfax near Carthage, 6 th C. King David Playing the Lyre, Synagogue at Gaza, 6 th C Oldest Written Song. Dedicated to the Moon-Goddess, Syria 3400 Years Old, Cuneiform
    15. 15. The Purim Procession, Dura Europos
    16. 16. The Closed Temple, Dura Europa The Temple of Aaron, Dura Europos
    17. 17. Roman Gold Glass, 4 th -century “ I should like to show Posidonius some glassblower who, by his breath, molds the glass into many shapes which scarcely could be created by the most skillful hand.” (Seneca, Moral Letters to Lucilium XC.31)
    18. 18. The Sacrifice of Isaac, Dura Europos
    19. 19. Mosaic with Good-luck Symbols. Antioch, 5 th -century
    20. 20. Abraham Upfront: Frontality in the Dura Europos Narrative
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