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Life Arts

Rembrandt, Jews and Jesus: Putting Judaism Back in the Picture

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Images are powerful in defining reality for the viewer. The pervasive Christianization of the Jewish Jesus in classical artworks fed the illusion that Jesus was of a different religion and ethnicity than the others -- the Jews -- when in fact they were all Semites of the same Jewish faith. To emphasize the false distinction, Jews were depicted in classical artworks as dark and menacing. See Peter Paul Reubens' Tribute Money (1512) and Albrecht Durer's 16-century painting, Christ Among the Doctors (Pharisees). By adding the charge of "Christ Killers" to this distorted and ugly imagery, church leaders sought to forge a final separation between Judaism and Christianity.

This exhibit does not suggest that new renditions of classical artworks are in any way better than the originals. Obviously, the Medieval and Renaissance painters were extraordinary artists; their artworks will stand forever as masterpieces. The primary intention is to address the omissions and misrepresentations of biblical history in the depictions and content, which have had enormous impact in dividing Christianity and Judaism.

For more information about the exhibit visit here .

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http://www.bernardstarr.com

Bernard Starr, PhD, is professor emeritus at the City University of New York (Brooklyn College) where he directed a graduate program in gerontology that spanned seven graduate departments. He is also the founder, and for 25 years, the managing (more...)
 

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