Browse in an art gallery and you’ll likely hear someone say, “I don’t know anything about art, but I know what I like.” But just the opposite is true, says art historian Jane Dillenberger. The more you know about art in general and about the particular painting or sculpture before your eyes, the richer will be your understanding of that artwork. For a moment, perhaps, you can leave your world and get inside the artist’s instead. Join Dillenberger as she immerses herself in the world of two medieval artists, Jan van Eyck and Sandro Botticelli, in “Dual Impressions—Looking for Style and Content in Christian Art.”
Dillenberger’s article is adapted from her book, Style & Content in Christian Art (Crossroad, 1986). Professor emeritus in the visual arts and theology faculty at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Dillenberger is the author of “Images of God in Western Art,” BR 01:02.
“When Did God Finish Creation?” by Victor Hurowitz, asks a surprising question that proves difficult to answer. Many laypersons may not even be aware of the problem, if they are familiar only with Bibles that say the work of the Creation took six days. But the Hebrew Bible says, “On the seventh day God finished the work which He had been doing” (Genesis 2:2), thus raising the “when” question and leaving us to wonder what God did to finish the work.
Hurowitz teaches Assyriology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Bible at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Originally a Philadelphian, he has lived in Israel since 1969.
After God completed the task of creating the universe, he rested, we are told in Genesis. In many other places in the Bible, including Exodus, Deuteronomy and Psalms, God is understood to be resting or sleeping. According to Bernard Batto in “When God Sleeps,” this behavior puts the Hebrew God Yahweh in company with Egyptian, Canaanite and Babylonian gods. The resting motif culminates, says Batto, in the New Testament story of Jesus sleeping in a boat and then waking to calm the storm-tossed Sea of Galilee.
Assistant professor of philosophy and religion at De Pauw University, Batto is the author of Studies on Women at Mari (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974) and “Red Sea or Reed Sea?” BAR 10:04.
In our “Bible Lands” department, Harold Brodsky conducts a tour of “The Shephelah—Guardian of Judea.” Brodsky shows how the distinctive features of the Shephelah—a region of foothills and valleys that lies between the coastal plain and the Judean plateau—made it a natural battleground for clashing armies and a stage for the exploits of such biblical heroes as Samson and David.
Associate professor of geography at the University of Maryland, Brodsky specializes in statistics, in particular the analysis of highway accident locations. A biblical geographer by avocation, he currently chairs the American Geographers’ Association Bible specialty group. He has been a visiting professor at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University 003and at the Technion University in Haifa, Israel. One of his recent publications deals with “Good Samaritan” behavior at highway accident scenes in Israel.
J. Maxwell Miller presents “Biblical Maps—How Reliable Are They?” and answers his own question with “sometimes not very.” A professor of Old Testament studies and an experienced excavator who has produced topographical studies of Israel, Miller examines three kinds of evidence that scholars use to identify biblical sites: ancient written sources (including the Bible), modern Arabic place-names that preserve parts of the ancient biblical names, and archaeological evidence. None, Miller points out, is failsafe, and questionable identifications have occasionally slipped into common usage.
In addition to teaching at Emory University in Atlanta, Miller serves as director of Emory’s graduate program in religion. His well-known books on biblical history and archaeology include Introducing the Holy Land and, with John H. Hayes, the new History of Ancient Israel and Judah. Miller has excavated at Tel Zeror, Tel Arad, Ai and Tel Beersheba in Israel, and at Buseirah, Jordan. He recently directed an archaeological survey of a plateau in southern Jordan (ancient Moab).
Award-winning children’s author Zena Sutherland reviews 19 books—for readers from read-aloud age to young adults—in “Children’s Books, 1985–1987.” Former children’s books editor of the Chicago Tribune and a contributing editor to Saturday Review, Sutherland is the author of many books, including The Best in Children’s Books (7th edition, 1986).
Browse in an art gallery and you’ll likely hear someone say, “I don’t know anything about art, but I know what I like.” But just the opposite is true, says art historian Jane Dillenberger. The more you know about art in general and about the particular painting or sculpture before your eyes, the richer will be your understanding of that artwork. For a moment, perhaps, you can leave your world and get inside the artist’s instead. Join Dillenberger as she immerses herself in the world of two medieval artists, Jan van Eyck and Sandro Botticelli, in “Dual Impressions—Looking for […]