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종교 탐방


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4. Art and iconography

예술과 형상학

1) The anti-iconic principle and its modifications.

Although the Second Commandment (Ex. 20:4; Deut. 5:8), "You shall not make yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth," has indeed been understood as absolutely prohibiting any and all artistic representation, this is not the only way in which these words may be interpreted. What is intended is a prohibition against the construction of such likenesses as were the object of worship in the cultural area in which the Israelites dwelt. Even in the Bible there are reports of artistic productivity in the construction of the tent sanctuary and its ritual vessels (Ex. 25-31) and of the Temple in Jerusalem (I Kings 6-7). The literalness and rigour with which the commandment was interpreted depended upon the larger situation of the community, so that during periods of external pressures toward religious conformity, such as the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in Antioch (175-164 BCE), the anti-iconic attitude sharpened. Similarly, during the Roman occupation, the presence of the battle standards of the legions with their animal representations was looked upon as an affront, while extreme Pietists would not even handle Roman coinage because of the images stamped on it. On the other hand, the walls of a 3rd-century-CE synagogue in Doura-Europus in Syria are covered from floor to ceiling with biblical scenes with human representations, and a number of synagogues in Palestine had elaborate mosaic floors with the signs of the zodiac, representations of the seasons, and the like. Further, illuminated manuscripts from the medieval period in Europe were frequently decorated with biblical figures, some quite clearly copied from Christian prototypes. A fascinating mediating position is to be seen in a Haggada, in which the human figures have bird heads. Synagogues from a later, although preemancipation, period (before the 18th century) were often decorated with animal figures. In the modern period the avoidance of human figures has not been entirely accomplished, although nothing like the decorations of Doura-Europus has appeared. (see also Index: icon)

2) Ceremonial objects and symbols.

Nonetheless, given this general anti-iconic attitude, much of Jewish artistic endeavour has been directed toward the creation of ceremonial objects: Qiddush goblets, candlesticks and candelabra, spice boxes for the Havdala ceremony at the end of the Sabbath, ornamented containers for the mezuza (a parchment on which is written Deut 6:4-9 and 11:13-21, fastened to the doorpost on the right side as one enters), the silver crowns placed on the Torah scrolls, together with the mantles and breastplates for the same, and many other objects designed to embellish the performance of the large number of ritual acts of the individual and the community. All of these vary in artistic quality, from the work of simple artisans to exquisitely produced works of master craftsmen.

3) Architecture.

The building of synagogues, too, is an expression of artistic interest and concern, as well as of religious and social function. Nothing is known of these edifices, if indeed there were any, until the Greco-Roman period. Then the Roman basilica often provided the appropriate model. What was required was a spacious hall for assembly, and galleries for the women, and this form served that purpose very well. However synagogues were furnished before the destruction of the Second Temple, after that event some attempt seems to have been made to transfer some of the latter's appurtenances to the former, a move that was successfully resisted. When possible, the synagogue stood on a hill. Before it stood a walled entrance court with a fountain for ablutions. Before the Temple destruction, the building may have been oriented with its doors facing eastward, but afterward they faced Jerusalem; still later, when the holy ark containing the Torah scrolls was placed in a fixed position, the orientation was reversed so that the central gate would not be blocked; ultimately, the ark was placed in or against the east wall, without reference to the actual direction of Jerusalem. As the Diaspora grew larger, the new communities adapted the architectural forms of the enveloping culture. The surviving buildings of the Muslim period in Spain are often built with the horseshoe arches and decorated with the exquisite stucco arabesques that mark the era. The medieval period in Christian Europe saw a revival of a very strict anti-iconic attitude and a gradual rejection of the church edifice in favour of secular buildings as a model for the synagogue. The increasingly limited role of the Jew in that society and the enlargement of restrictions by church and state made it necessary to modify the synagogal structure. The doors no longer were in the wall facing the ark; the courtyard grew smaller; galleries were discontinued (side rooms now serving as the women's section); and a double- rather than a triple-aisled construction was largely favoured. Similar developments took place in eastern Europe with the building of fortress-synagogues and the remarkable wooden synagogues of Poland. In the early postemancipation period, Baroque style had its day, followed by Greek temples, Romanesque, Gothic, and pseudo-Byzantine churches, and pseudo-Moorish mosques. In the most recent period, the various schools of functionalism and their commercial descendants have come to the fore. The best of these have brought together fine architectural design and beautifully conceived and executed decoration. The interior arrangement, even in some traditional synagogues, has been influenced by the Protestant sermon-centred form of worship, so that some of the unique forms that marked older structures are absent. The holy ark is, however, still a centre of attention and has often been treated in interesting and striking ways.

4) Paintings and illustrations.

As noted above, the use of paintings in the decoration of synagogues goes back to at least the 3rd century CE and is found in the late pre-emancipation and modern synagogues as well. Manuscripts, too, were illuminated with miniatures and the Renaissance period saw the appearance of beautifully decorated Scrolls of Esther and ketubbot (marriage contracts). Nonetheless, the appearance of Jewish artists in painting and sculpture is a modern phenomenon. Beginning in the 19th century, interest grew apace and more and more Jews are to be found, often in the avant-garde of these fields. Some, such as Marc Chagall and Jacques Lipchitz, have done specifically religious art. (see also Index: ketubba)

5) Music.

The description of the synagogue service above noted the role of the hazzan, or cantor. It is he who reads the service and declaims the scriptural lessons to certain set musical modes that vary with the season and occasion. Many of these call for melodic responses on the part of the congregation. The origins and varying developments of these chants are ancient, often obscure, and equally complicated. Whatever the basic materials, these were enlarged, varied, corrupted, and reworked over the centuries in the various environments in which the Jewish communities have lived. In modern times musicologists have begun to examine with great care the history of synagogal music, analyzing its basic structures and its relationship to the music of Christian liturgical traditions. In the 19th century in Western Europe much of the traditional music was either discarded or re-worked under the influence of western forms and styles. In addition the pipe-organ was introduced and was the centre of stormy controversy.

6) Literature.

Literature has been throughout the ages the home of Jewish artistic activity. The Hebrew Bible is a work of monumental artistry, exhibiting grandeur of form and language in historical narrative, poetry, rhetoric, and aphorism. The extrascriptural writings of the period, although their originals have often vanished, still disclose literary genius of a high order in translation. The documents of the rabbinic tradition are not often looked at with an eye to their literary worth but much of the material, particularly the Haggadic portions of the Midrashim, reveals a noteworthy sensitivity to the uses of language. In the medieval period much attention was given to the production of piyyutim, liturgical poetry with which to embellish the Siddur(prayer book), itself a collection containing much imaginative, as well as pedestrian, writing. In the Islamic world, under the influence of Arabic poetry, Hebrew poetry rose to a high peak in both liturgical and secular forms. The Middle Ages in the Rhineland also saw the beginnings of the Jewish form of Middle High German that was, over the centuries, to develop into an autonomous Jewish language, Yiddish, which, in the 19th century, became a literary vehicle of very high order. The same period saw the beginnings of the recreation of Hebrew into a literary language that has become the basis of the spoken vernacular of the State of Israel and of a flourishing literature encompassing every branch of the field. Since the emancipation at the end of the 18th century, Jews in western Europe and later in the United States have turned to literature in the vernaculars of their countries, and have produced writers of note dealing with both Jewish and general themes. (L.H.S.) (see also Hebrew literature)



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