Ancient mosaics from a synagogue

Mosaics dating to the late Roman period have been found in a synagogue in modern Israel “challenge current notions of ancient Jewish aesthetics and the art of depicting scripture.”

Sarah E. Bond, “Discovery of Jewish Mosaics in Israel Bring Color to Biblical Accounts,” Hyperallergic, 7/20/18.

Fish swallowing Pharoah’s soldier in the Parting of the Red Sea

9 thoughts on “Ancient mosaics from a synagogue

  1. Destiny Kay

    I find it very intriguing that as years go by we continue to find ancient and valuable artifacts from the past. Personally, I find mosaics interesting. They remind me of little bits and pieces that come together like a puzzle. The article reads, “The mosaics decorating the floor of the Huqoq synagogue revolutionize our understanding of Judaism in this period.” I thought it was pretty neat how the placement of the mosaics has meaning. Which reminds readers how religious and sentimental things were around this day and age. I learned that the Huqoq mosaics prove an economically and artistically vital community proud of its religious identity despite the negative views of Judaism expressed by many early Christian authors. Huqoq mosaics seem to be very powerful and meaningful.

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  2. Tai Frazier

    I love it when new discoveries challenge our understanding of the past. I’m very used to hearing people say that the past was a simpler time, and as I disagree wholeheartledly, I always enjoy new finds that act as evidence that human beings have always been a tangle of influences and personalities. These mosaics feature a Greco-Roman and the zodiac astrological signs, a meeting between two officials, one of whom might have been the Persian Alexander the Great, passages from Hebrew texts, and the mosaics themselves are very often regarded as a Roman style of art. In these beautiful images, we have a bright and colorful mix of histories that stood boldly in their places of worship, despite the prejudice of predominant religions at the time. I think that’s a very wonderful, very profound thing.

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  3. Paul King

    It’s obvious as to what a significant discovery these mosaics are, as the article said that it was previously thought that Jewish art lacked iconography and the vivid color in these mosaics. I can’t imagine the time and effort needed to assemble such intricate imagery. The inclusion of Greco-Roman imagery in the mosaics speaks to the cultural influences that Jewish art was pulling from.

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  4. Mary Wells

    Reading this article I feel it is almost a good reality check for anyone that takes an interest in art. Sometimes art that dates back many many years isn’t as cut and dry as we often try to make it out to be. It is very possible since we are in the present trying to date back to a time that we don’t necessarily know if we have the full story on, that we may either make assumptions or not have the means to gather all the information we need. As we progress in our abilities to find out more and more about our past it is quite possible that we will see some things that we have considered to be the full truth change, and as time goes on it may change even more. That is one exciting thing about art, you never know what is going to happen next!

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  5. Meredith Pons

    It is clear that these mosaics were a huge find and it is crazy that they’re still finding such amazing works of art. These intricate, beautiful images show a vivid and colorful mix of people proudly in their places of worship despite the prejudice of predominant religions at the time. The Greco-Roman imagery in the mosaics show the cultural influences that Jewish art was based on. The amount of detail and clear hard work throughly impresses me.

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  6. Madeline

    It is amazing to be able to see that pieces from history are able to contradict other parts of history. Mosaics are the most unique and beautiful art filled with such meaning. They can be interpreted in so many different ways, allowing them to be special to many different people. The time it takes to create such art also adds such a deep appreciation for them. It is cool to see that the mosaics found are contradicting other messages typically portrayed from basic mosaics. This shows that the artists didn’t stick to one universal meaning behind pieces of art, but they were able to branch out and create what was on their hearts. To me, this makes the newly found pieces more appreciated and admired. On the other hand, this allows archeologists to learn that every piece of art does not have the same meaning and purpose….. it can allows them to think outside traditions, and find unique and special meanings. This article is really cool and should be something talked about more often. Art history is not universal and can be interpreted in so many different ways.

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  7. Katie Ragone

    Christianity always seems to be the religion that students focus on the most and the religion that most ancient artwork is based on and depicted. Judaism has always been a religion where people struggle with understanding it’s background. In the past, it has been a practice that people believe is wrong, therefore, Jews are discriminated and put into concentration camps. Reading this article about the fascinating Jewish mosaics being found really makes me happy for their culture and religion. Even when Christians were treating Jews poorly, their mosaics depicted them has being happy and carefree, like they didn’t care what other people thought. These discoveries make me want to travel to Israel to learn more about the biblical passages being represented by the colorful mosaics found in the synagogs.

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  8. Clare Driscoll

    Art is not just something that links us to the past. It is a way of evolving our knowledge of the past into the present and future. Before these mosaics were discovered, it was largely believed that Jewish art lacked images and depictions of figures due to persecution and ridicule in a predominantly Christian society. Yet these mosaics depict scenes from the Hebrew Bible and a possible interpretation of Alexander the Great, proving that the Jews of this time were proud of their religion despite the aversion to it by the Christian community. This discovery has also promoted the ability to travel to Israel safely and to be able to further education in the Middle art without fearing imminent danger at every corner.

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  9. Tatiana Becerra

    The excavations at the ancient synagogue in Israel have produced a remarkable discovery. The scene in this art piece show an extremely rare setting. I found it remarkable how the mosaics decorate the floor of the fifth century synagogue, revealing images of the Pharaoh’s soldiers being swallowed by a massive fish overturned chariots and other kinds of animals. The finding of this ancient synagogue also helped determine when these were created and it is believed that they existed during the Roman empire ruling.

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