ARHA 212: Jewish Ceremonial Art in Context

Jewish Ceremonial Art in Context covers the history of Judaica from its beginnings in the classical period of Antiquity until the present. The halakhic or legal requirements in Jewish law for Judaica are one context for understanding the objects; the second is their relationship to the forms and style of similar pieces of the “decorative arts” in the period of their creation.

The earliest Jewish ceremonial art dates to the period of Roman rule and the early Byzantine era that follows. There is then a gap of hundreds of years until the High Middle Ages. The 16th century was a particularly significant time in the history of Jewish ceremonial art: new forms were created that are represented both by existing works and archival testimony.

Past Projects

  • 2012: Jewish Ceremonial Art in Context

    The goal of the course is to give students an understanding of the range of ceremonial art used in the practice of Judaism, and how individual works were fashioned out of a creative tension between the minimal demands of Jewish law and models in the art of surrounding cultures. Another aim is to enable a student to analyze a work visually and to connect the work to others that are similar in style and form. Students will have an opportunity to curate an exhibition based on a collection of Judaica in Middletown.