1.12.12

Arte "Degenerado"


Cachorro: ¿enemigo público número uno?

Entartete Kunst es una expresión apropiada por los nazis en los años '30 y que en la lengua alemana significa "arte degenerado." Los nazis la aplicaron con propósitos de propaganda político-racista, haciéndola parte de su programa de adoctrinamiento de masas.

Mas la expresión en cuestión es casi un neologismo, ya que hasta el momento en que los nazis la emplearon, el alemán poseía solamente el término Entartung (degeneración). Los referentes literarios de Entarte Kunst se hallan en escritos críticos de fines del siglo XIX, pero la expresión "Entarte Kunst" es de hecho una fabricación relativamente reciente.[1]

Degeneración es un término empleado en biología para referirse al estado de lo que degenera o al paso de un estado a otro inferior.

En conjunción con arte, el calificativo "degenerado" despierta asociaciones negativas, tanto en lo físico como lo moral: degenerado implica decadente, desviado, descarriado, corrompido, desenfrenado, pervertido, depravado, vicioso, indecente, despreciable.

Degenerado acaso resulte útil como término descriptivo en el área de la ciencia empírica, pero su uso en el arte no es más que un mero juicio de valor.

Henry Tonks, Soldado desfigurado N° 18, pastel, 1916-17
Hunterian Museum, Londres. Cortesía del Royal College of Surgeons of England. Imagen empleada con autorización
En este trabajo, la tarea del artista era representar el estado del soldado que había combatido en la guerra luego de finalizada su intervención quirúrgica.
Desfiguración no es sinónimo de degeneración.

Históricamente, Hitler logró llegar al poder en 1933, beneficiándose de la enorme crisis económica que se hacía sentir en Alemania una vez ese país fue derrotado tras la Primera Guerra Mundial (1914-1918). Buena parte del arte producido durante y luego de la Primer Gran Guerra transmitía las ansiedades y temores que sentían los alemanes. Tal arte era a menudo ácido y desesperanzado. Mas en tiempos de pre-guerra, e incluso durante la ya mencionada guerra, algunos artistas crearon también obras que aspiraban a una realidad mejor y comunicaban cierta esperanza.

La crítica se podía percibir por ejemplo en la obra de Otto Dix, quien a través de ella denunciaba con sarcasmo la decadencia de su época y se pronunciaba contra la guerra, representando a los soldados mutilados que ella producía.

Otto Dix, Mutilados de Guerra, 1920
Óleo destruido por los nazis.

El aspecto esperanzado encontraba su expresión, por ejemplo, en las pinturas de Franz Marc y adquiría un carácter moderno y funcional en los diseños provenientes de la Bauhaus.

Franz Marc, El toro blanco, óleo, 1913

Artista vienés mimético y conservador, Hitler, jamás reconocido y siempre frustrado, indudablemente celaba la libertad y fuerza expresiva de los creadores artísticos de su época, quienes algunas veces, a diferencia de él, sí conocían el sabor del éxito.

Los artistas de vanguardia producían un arte de corte experimental. Seguían los pasos de Van Gogh y Gauguin, quienes en el siglo XIX habían logrado deshacerse de las restricciones que implicaba el arte mimético (arte que imitaba el mundo material, corpóreo y visible) dando lugar a la libertad del artista, especialmente en lo que concierne a la forma y el color. A diferencia de la narración, tanto la forma y el color son dos elementos intrínsecos del arte visual.

Vincent van Gogh, Auvers-sur-Oise, óleo, 1890
Musée d'Orsay, París

Paul Gauguin, Autorretrato con halo y serpiente, óleo, 1889
National Gallery of Art, Washington (G1; G2).

En el siglo XX, los artistas de vanguardia habían comprendido e internalizado tales nociones y producían entonces obras en las que el apasionado verismo de Van Gogh junto a el primitivismo expresivo de Gauguin eran recreados y capitalizados en el arte a través del uso libre de la forma y el color. Consecuentemente, los artistas de vanguardia (es decir, artistas modernos) no buscaban para nada reproducir la realidad del mundo material y visible, cosa que sí hacía Hitler.

Wassily Kandinsky, Composición IV, óleo, 1911
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfallen, Düsseldorf

Bajo el régimen de Hitler el arte debía someterse a los dictados partido nazi y no ser nada más que un medio que comunicase los intereses del mismo. Antes de conducir a Alemania a una guerra que la dejaría literalmente en ruinas, los nazis proclamaron con insistencia que la "superioridad racial" de los blancos nórdicos "puros" no podía sino conducirlos a ser los "amos del mundo".

El idílico mundo prometido por la propaganda nazi.

El régimen de Hitler fue autoritario, racista y belicoso.

La propaganda nazi se nutría de la obra de oportunistas que colaboraban con el régimen. Thorak fue uno de ellos.

Con la llegada de Hitler al poder, los principales creadores alemanes no dudaron en abandonar el país.

Arthur Kaufmann, El Exilio Espiritual, tríptico, 1938
Kunstmuseum Mülheim an der Ruhr in der Alten Post
La obra presenta notables intelectuales y creadores que emigraron de Alemania nazi a América. Entre ellos figuran Albert Einstein, Berthold Viertel, Arnold Zweig, Fritz Lang, Erika y Thomas Mann

De las obras de arte moderno que se encontraban en Alemania, exactamente 16.558 fueron confiscadas por los nazis. Algunas de ellas obras fueron seleccionadas y presentadas públicamente como "ejemplos de degeneración." Entartete Kunst fue una muestra organizada para comunicar la supuesta "irrelevancia" de la Libertad.

Las deformaciones artísticas y el uso libre del color propio de los artistas de vanguardia fueron intencionalmente exhibidos como "sintomáticos" de la supuesta falta de talento, locura y/o degeneración de sus autores.

Una vez terminada la exhibición de arte "degenerado", los nazis subastaron en Suiza las obras de arte moderno que previamente habían confiscado o usurpado por la fuerza. Cuando no lograron rematarlas, entonces las destruyeron: unas 5000 obras fueron incineradas en Berlín en 1939.

Finalmente capturado: "peligro público número uno"

Los nazis confiscaron de los museos alemanes y de colecciones privadas obras de arte moderno que calificaron de "material peligroso" para la nación alemana ya que, según ellos, transmitían valores opuestos a los del régimen.[2]

Paul Klee, Isla agridulce, óleo, 1938

Pero el nazismo exhaltaba no solo la "pureza" racial sino además el conformismo automático y la sumisión absoluta e incondicional del individuo al régimen nazi.

Esculturas que Arno Breker realizó para el régimen nazi en 1939

Indudablemente, la libertad de expresión no formaba en lo absoluto parte del programa nazi. Debido a ello todo artista libre y pensante fue sistemáticamente tildado como "enemigo" del partido.

Marc Chagall, Uno dice o El rabino, óleo, 1912
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
El libro abierto del rabino presenta su texto en dos direcciones, simbolizando la posibilidad de conocer su cultura y entablar un diálogo.

Las bases del arte moderno descansan sobre la libertad de expresión que arduamentelos artistas lograron conquistar gracias a la Revolución Francesa (1789), cuyos valores son enunciados en la célebre tríada "Libertad, Igualdad, Fraternidad."

Delacroix: La libertad porta el estandarte tricolor
Detalle de La libertad guiando al pueblo, óleo, 1830. Musée du Louvre, París

El arte moderno se gestó a partir de los principios de la Revolución Francesa. De naturaleza universal, tales valores fueron desde el vamos entendidos como derechos inalienables de las personas.

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Joven de Kovno, xilografía, 1918. Brücke Museum, Berlín

Los nazis sentían profunda aversión por todo ello y en particular por el arte moderno, es decir, por cualquier manifestación artística independiente y de vanguardia.

Cubierta de la guía para la muestra ENTARTETE KUNST (Múnich, 1937), donde se ilustra una obra del escultor expresionista Otto Freundlich titulada Der neue Mensch (El hombre nuevo, 1912). Nótese el empleo sarcástico de las comillas en la palabra KUNST (arte) y su deliberada omisión en ENTARTETE (degenerado). La obra elegida por los nazis es primitivista y posee una prominente naríz convexa.
Freundlich era un artista hebreo bien integrado en la sociedad alemana.
Imagen cortesía del Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlín

Entartete Kunst fue el nombre de una exposición itinerante con propósitos propagandísticos organizada por los nazis en Múnich en 1937 y luego en otras tantas ciudades (Berlín, Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Weimar, Halle, Viena y Salzburgo). La muestra incluía 650 obras de arte moderno realizadas por más de cien artistas de vanguardia y entre ellos figuraban Franz Marc, Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Otto Dix, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Edvard Munch, Meidner, George Grosz, Oskar Schlemmer, Joan Miró, Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Heckel, Lasar Segall, Max Beckmann, Marc Chagall, Jean Metzinger, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Kurt Schwitters, Paul Klee, Hofer, El Lissitzky, Oskar Kokoschka, Lovis Corinth y Max Ernst.

Los movimientos condenados por los nazis abarcaban prácticamente todas las corrientes de vanguardia artística de la época: impresionismo, posimpresionismo, fauvismo, expresionismo, cubismo, abstracción, bauhaus, nueva objetividad, pintura metafísica, dadá y surrealismo.

Intencionalmente, las obras de arte moderno fueron exhibidas por los nazis caóticamente y acompañadas ya por citas que las ridiculizaban o comentarios despectivos que introducían al arte moderno como algo absurdo y patológico.[A] Así, obras de vanguardia eran mostradas como si fuesen producto de enfermos mentales o individuos ideológicamente nefastos, quienes según los nazis debían ser extirpados de la sociedad alemana.

Hitler Y Ziegler inspeccionan la muestra, Múnich, 1937.
Pinturas colgadas en estudiado desorden en un panel de la exposición donde los motivos abstractos de Kandinsky con no accidentalmente combinados con una cita de Grosz expresando que es preciso tomar en serio a[l movimiento nihilista] Dadá [que celebraba el Absurdo] ("Nehmen Sie Dada ernst! – Es lohnt sich").

Con ánimos de poner en evidencia la supuesta "degeneración" que implicaba el arte moderno, el programa de la muestra comparaba no pocos retratos ejecutados por artistas modernos con fotografías de individuos enfermos y que padecían patologías impresionantes, extremas e incurables.

Guía nazi de la exposición presentando patologías varias como fuente de inspiración del arte moderno.

Favorito de Hitler, Ziegler introdujo la muestra de arte "degenerado" en 1937 recalcando que "lo que están viendo son los productos enfermos de la locura, la impertinencia y la falta de talento."

La guía de la muestra en su p. 32 ilustra obras de Baumeister, Ernst y Molzahn bajo el título "Estupidez o impertinencia--o ambas--¡llevadas al extremo!"

En Múnich, "Arte Degenerado" fue presentado paralelamente a la "Gran Exposición de Arte Alemán," que celebraba los trabajos oficiales del régimen nazi. Pero ésta última solo fue vistada por menos de la quinta parte de la cantidad total de personas que asistieron a la muestra de arte "degenerado".[3]

Ambas muestras fueron montadas para ser asimiladas fácilmente por un público lego y sus respectivos mensajes eran presentandos como verdad incontestable. Si bien es cierto que, como reza un conocido refrán, "al que no sabe, cualquiera lo engaña" y "al que no tiene, cualquiera lo compra", ante las muestras organizadas por los nazis, muchos de los visitantes no lograron comprender el mensaje ideológico de tales gestos propagandísticos. Curiosamente, tales personas se quedaron en el "me gusta" o "no me gusta", cosa que les impidió captar el real propósito contrapuntual de las muestras. Porque la razón de ser de esas exposiciones no tenía que ver con asunto estético ninguno sino que era una mezcla de panfletarismo tendencioso y promoción partidaria. Se intentaba presentar el arte en términos antagónicos y extremistas, partiendo de un punto de vista crudo y dicotómico. En efecto, la concepción nazi del arte no era simple, era superficial y simplista.

Los trabajos celebrados por los nazis no eran necesariamente siempre malos en su calidad como forma plástica, no. Sin embargo, y más allá de su posible esteticidad, el problema real era que habían sido realizados por artistas del siglo XX quienes (sea como fuere) terminaron por entregarse y someterse completamente a los dictados del régimen nazi, para ajustarse a los dictados del mismo y reflejar en sus trabajos las premisas de dicho partido. Y, el régimen nazi era, como dijimos, autoritario, racista y belicoso. Pero además era discriminatorio y oportunista.

La "gente" representada en los trabajos encomendados por los burócratas del régimen nazi tendía a ser un conjunto de figuras idealizadas en actitudes más o menos heróicas, aunque a veces también ridículas, afectadas y/o presuntuosas. Tales figuras respondían a aquello que los nazis llamaban el "tipo racial" nórdico, es decir, la "raza aria" destinada, según ellos, a imponer su voluntad innata y dominar el mundo, con mano de hierro.

Es precisamente por eso que las muestras preparadas por los nazis no eran realmente "exposiciones de arte" sino verdaderas herramientas de manipulación masiva.

La cuestión no era tanto si existían o no componentes negativos en el arte de posguerra, ya que el arte, cuando es libre, suele reflejar el muy amplio espectro de la condición humana, las experiencias y el sentir de los hombres: lo lindo, lo que no lo es tanto, y lo feo también. Mas la actitud nazi tenía su fundamento en una percepción maniqueísta de la realidad. Es por ello que los nazis acosaban a todo el mundo recalcándole que o se estaba con el régimen y en conformismo pleno o que se estaba contra él y entonces se era un degenerado. Según ellos, las cosas eran o lo uno o lo otro.

Con todo, el arte nunca es forma y forma solamente. Por el contrario, el arte es forma y significado (incluso cuando es abstracto).

"El arte," según Oscar Wilde, "siempre es superficie y símbolo."

En vez de establecer qué debe o no representar un artista, uno tal vez bien podría cuestionarse: ¿de qué sirve la belleza de una obra plástica si su propósito no es otra cosa que el inculcarle al hombre ideas tales como dominar, explotar y exterminar al prójimo?

La cultura nazi, por otra parte, fue una cultura suicida. Fascinada con el orden, el sufrimiento y la muerte, y más allá de su innegable codicia, el fundamento último de ella no era otro que la autodestrucción.

Andreas Paul Weber: Marcha a la tumba

Los trabajos comisionados por los nazis no son entonces obras de arte sino algo así como una droga irresistible para las masas, una que, promoviendo la uniformidad, intenta volverlas dóciles y obedientes, para finalmente manipularlas y destruirlas.

¿Qué es el conformismo?

Lamentablemente el inapropiadamente denominado "arte nazi" de arte tiene poco y nada. Los trabajos comisionados por el régimen totalitario de los nazis suelen caracterizarse por ser mediocres y sensibleros: propaganda ordinaria, que como tal no puede sino recurrir insistentemente a tipos fijos, o sea, estereotipos.

Entre quienes tuvieron la valentía de oponerse al régimen nazi, mención especial merece el alemán John Heartfield.

John Heartfield: Paz y Fascismo. El fotomontaje muestra la paloma de la paz atravesada por la bayoneta del autoritarismo.

Epílogo

"Tipo" no es arte. Los nazis intentaron abordar mediante su política la cuestión del "tipo" y ello tuvo secuelas importantes. Al hacerlo no sólo se equivocaron, sino que además hicieron mucho daño. Para los líderes nazis, el arte de su tiempo era "degenerado" mas debía llegar a ser un arte reducido a los mínimos elementos estéticos posibles y lograr además conducir al espectador hacia una lectura lineal y unívoca. El líder máximo nazi redujo como nadie el asunto en cuestión al proclamar en uno de sus discursos que "ser alemán es ser claro" y con ello sugirió que el arte alemán también debía ser claro (Círio Simon).[4]

Lo mismo es válido para la propaganda nazi que adoctrinaba las masas haciendo uso "tipos" rotundamente estereotipados.

Antídotos para todo tipo legible y unívoco son el cuestionarse y la dialéctica. Preguntémonos entonces: ¿con qué propósito se buscan perpetuar determinados estereotipos? Es más, ¿a quién beneficia ello? y ¿en qué específicamente?

Las mito-formas de los nazis fueron absorbidas por la estética del kitsch.

En el arte no existe lo correcto o lo equivocado [...] En lo concerniente a los caminos del arte, lo importante es el hábito de asumir el deber de la integridad intelectual.[5]

La humanidad hoy: raza de mil colores

Notas
1. Previamente Max Nordau tomó el término Entartung del campo de la biología y lo aplicó a sus escritos. En su discurso de Nürenberg en 1934, Hitler ya incluye la expresión "arte degenerado" al referirse al arte moderno. Luego organizará una serie de exposiciones paródicas con obras de arte moderno y destinadas a ridiculizarlo. Entre ellas merece mencionarse la de Stuttgart, a la que denominó Kunst in Dienste der Zersetzung, es decir, "Arte al servicio de la desmoralización".
2. Entre los artistas cuyas obras fueron expoliadas y luego desaparecieron especial mención merecen Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Modigliani, Braque, De Chirico, Chagall, Kirchner, Grosz, Klee y Kandinsky.
3. "La naturaleza vista por mentes enfermas" o "Un insulto para la mujer alemana" eran algunas de las leyendas presentes en la muestra; otras denunciaban la anarquía, el judeo-bolcheviquismo, etc.
4. Según los datos oficiales de los nazis, 400.000 personas se presentaron a la muestra de arte "alemán" y 2.000.000 a la de arte "degenerado". La muestra de "arte alemán" se componía de trabajos "racialmente puros" y que idealizaban tanto la vida campesina como los soldados listos para combatir en la guerra.
5. Tipo não é arte, 2011: "O nazismo tentou, na sua política, colocar em pauta a questão do "tipo" com as mais amplas projeções culturais. Não só errou, mas fez muito mal. [...] Para os líderes nazistas a Arte do seu tempo era "degenerada" [... mas] deveria ser [... Arte] reduzida aos elementos estéticos mínimos possíveis, e, melhor ainda, se ela fosse direcionada para uma leitura linear e unívoca. O seu líder máximo [...] reduziu [o asunto] afirmando que "ser alemão é ser claro", dando a entender que a Arte alemã também deveria ser clara".
6. Círio Simon, Isto não é arte, 2010: "Em arte não existe o certo ou o errado. [...] O importante em relação aos caminhos da arte é o hábito de assumir o dever da integridade intelectual").

Recursos Online
Antología de obras de arte "degenerado" y Commons
Degenerate Art y Degenerate Art Exhibition
The Censure of Democracy
Werckmeister, Totalitarian Art, Northwestern, 1999
Neil Levi, "Judge for Yourselves!" - The "Degenerate Art" Exhibition as Political Spectacle, October, Vol. 85, 1998, pp. 41-64; The MIT Press
El "arte degenerado" de Hitler es ahora la sensación cultural de Berlín, Clarín, 2004
Rachael Bell, Nazi Looted Europe's Great Art Treasures, Crime Library, c. 2011



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20.11.12

Ask the Rabbi


Matthew Hoffman
From Rebel to Rabbi
Reclaiming Jesus and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture
Stanford UP, 2007
Studies in Jewish History and Culture

"From Rebel to Rabbi establishes how the changes that occurred in Jewish culture during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries stimulated a widespread fascination with the figure of Jesus and with Christian motifs among numerous Jewish theologians, historians, intellectuals, writers, and artists. It illustrates how and why the process of modernization for these Jews involved a radical reevaluation of Jesus of Nazareth. This book analyzes works of Jewish history, theology, Yiddish literature, Jewish visual art, and intellectual debates, in an attempt to situate this phenomenon within the broader context of a cultural history of how Jews have related to and depicted the figure of Jesus in the modern period. It suggests that for writers and artists, such as Sholem Asch and Marc Chagall, refiguring Jesus as intrinsically Jewish and using Christian themes to express aspects of the modern Jewish experience were an integral part of creating a new and distinctive modern Jewish culture" (Inside flap).

Chagall: The Yellow Crucifixion, 1942-43
"From the end of the eighteenth century, Jewish proponents of modernization, enlightenment (Haskalah), and reform began to reject the traditionally negative Jewish views of Jesus in favor of increasingly sympathetic appraisals of him. This complex and intriguin trend has come to be known by scholars as the Jewish reclamation of Jesus. Typically, definitions of this reclamation are limited to Jewish scholarship on Jesus and Christian origins, ignoring the ubiquity of this trend within modern Jewish culture as a whole. However, since its origins in the Berlin Haskalah circle of Moses Mendelssohn in the 1780s, countless rabbis and theologians, philosophers and historians, intellectuals and activists, poets and artists, have attempted to reclaim Jesus as a Jew in a profusion of different ways. Throughout the modern era Jews have appropriated Jesus as a malleable cultural symbol—a figure who can serve as the paradigm for a variety of religious, political, and cultural ideologies and positions. In fact, Jesus became a central symbol in virtually all forms Jews created in striving for a modern Jewish culture.
[...] Jesus became a mirror through which Jewish thinkers could reflect their own particular ideological or spiritual vision; they could relate to Jesus on some level as a kindred spirit, proud or persecuted, nationalist or universalist, reformer or redeemer. As Jewish notions of self-understanding and self-definition changed and evolved, so too did Jewish perceptions of Jesus evolved to correspond to these new identities. In its essence, Jewish writing on Jesus tells us more about Jews than about Jesus. Thus, closing scrutinizing these multiple Jewish reclamations provides us with a window onto how Jews have represented themselves in the modern world. [...].
Reclaiming the figure of Jesus functioned as an important part of modern Jews' attempts to secure a prominent place in Western civilization, to gain normalcy and even centrality in that civilization. Representing Jesus in a positive light served as a bridge between things Jewish and things Christian-Western and as a means of breaking down boundaries between the two. Embracing Jesus as a legitimate subject of Jewish discourse and cultural expression was a way of embracing the culture and civilization that had worshiped him as their Lord and Savior and at the same time persecuted Jews in his name. In this sense, Jewish intellectuals who were forging a new Jewish culture used the image of Jesus to simultaneously claim Western culture as their own and to show that Jesus was "just like they were." Differing images of Jesus often clashed with one another as these intellectuals seemed to be doing contradictory things—asserting their Jewishness while bringing themselves into Western culture. From the outset this process was beset with seemingly conflicting motives as the reclamation of Jesus has always involved Jews asserting his Jewishness thus implicitly rejecting the Christian Jesus of Western culture. The Jesus that these Jews wrote about and portrayed was not the Cristian Lord and Savior, but their ancient Jewish brother. Jewish writers have always disassociated the Jewish man, Jesus, from the Christian god, Christ, as they consistently tried to demonstrate the Jewish qualities of his life and teachings. [...] Furthermore, this re-Judaization of Jesus also equipped these modern Jews with a potent weapon for critiquing a still predominantly intolerant Christian world [...].
Thus, traditionalist Jews who rejected the changes wrought by modernity and chose to remain apart from non-Jewish culture typically maintained deeply entrenched negative views of Jesus and all symbols of Christian culture. [But] those Jews who accepted the basic premise of participating in non-Jewish society and culture while forging new forms of Judaism and Jewishness often reenvisioned Jesus in more sympathetic terms [...].
[While considering the Jewish cultural renaissance, the author suggests that rather than using the term assimilation, one should better describe this complex model of integration into non-Jewish culture as transformative integration. For, significantly,] modern Jews also revamped premodern Jewish perceptions of Jesus [...]. Traditionally Jews had depicted Jesus in disparaging and unfavorable terms. From the early years of Christianity, when the religio-cultural conflict between Jews and Christians commenced and quickly expanded, Jews saw Jesus as a Jewish heretic and rebel who had incited the antagonism that now raged between the two communities. [...].
In the Middle Ages, as relations between Jews worsened, and Jews increasingly became victims of anti-Jewish discrimination and persecution at the hands of Christians, the figure of Jesus became etched in the Jewish collective consciousness as the primary emblem of Christian antipathy. [...].
As polemics and disputations between Christians and Jews continued to escalate throughout the Middle Ages, derisive images of Jesus proliferated in Jewish cultural discorse, by far outnumbering the few relatively tolerant portrayals that existed. [...]. By the close of the Middle Ages, Jesus and the religious symbols assiciated with him—the cross, the crucifixion, the Madonna, etc.—had become emblems of fear and repulsion in the minds and hearts of most traditional Jews; he represented all that was other, alien, and dangerous.
In light of this premodern tradition, we can see that with the onset of modernity in the Jewish world, such tremendous changes took place in Jewish cultural discourse that, by the end of the nineteenth century, numerous Jews view Jesus proudly as a devout rabbi and paragon of moral piety. There developed a widespread fascination with the figure of Jesus among European Jewish intellectuals, as the Jewish process of modernization involved a revaluation—indeed a reclamation—of Jesus of Nazareth. In an ironic sense, this sort of possitive appropriation of Jesus was more challenging to Christians' cultural claims on him than all of the premodern Jewish polemics disparaging Jesus. Thus, the Jewish reclamation of Jesus reflects a more aggressive approach by Jews to participating in Western thought and culture than is generally acknowledged, and a far more complex engagement with non-Jewish cultural forms. [...].
Throughout this book, I present examples of Jewish thinkers, historians, writers, and artists who share in the civilization of the West, not by mocking or mimicking it, but by appropriating, and thereby transforming, some of its key intellectual motifs and cultural forms. What this amounted to was, on the one hand, an attempt to insert Jews into the heart of modern Western civilization by claiming the West as Jewish, rather than merely assimilating into the West by erasing all signs of Jewishness. On the other hand, this process also played a central role in the creation of a uniquely modern and predominantly secular Jewish culture by generating revised images of Jesus that came to symbolize contemporary movements and ideologies. It is a subtle distinction between "insertion" and assimilation, and the line between the two is often blurred beyond recognition. However, I believe it is crucial for a richer and more nuanced understanding of Jewish cultural history in the modern period that we attempt to uncover the tension between these two paths toward modernization.
Some of Homi [K.] Bhabha's ideas about minority cultural construction can be helpful in theorizing about the role of the Jewish reclamation of Jesus as part of the Jewish process of modernization and integration withing (secularized) Christian culture in Europe and America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His notions of cultural hybridity and the importance of the "in-between spaces" in carrying the burden of the "meaning of culture" are relevant and applicable to this trend [i.e., the Jewish cultural renaissance]. For Bhabha "in-between spaces" refer to a sort of no-man's-land of cultural space, which cannot be exclusively claimed by either the majority or the minority culture. He argues that "these in-between spaces provide the terrain for elaborating strategies of selfhood—singular or communal—that initiate new signs of identity, and innovative sites of collaboration, and contestation, in the act of defining the idea of society itself".*
[...] Crossing borders and breaking down boundaries was an integral part of the Jewish intellectual's quest for a modern Jewish identity and culture, especially in literature and the arts, and embracing the figure of Jesus was part of this radical transformation of Jewish culture" (Introduction, pp. 2-6, 10-11).

"Before the Holocaust, most Jewish writers and artists had wielded the Jewish Jesus as their ultimate weapon against Christian anti-Semitism. However with the war and the genocide of European Jews, Jesus again became associated [...] with the persecutors [...].
To be sure, as Ziva Amishai-Maisels has shown,** the crucifixion and other Christian motifs still appealed to many Jewish visual artists, who attempted to confront the horrors of the Holocaust in their work, yet except from Chagall, none boldly depicted Jesus as a thoroughly Jewish figure. The crucifixion might have been an appropriate visual symbol of Jewish suffering, but for many Jews—artists and audience alike—Jesus was now beyond the pale; his old status as emblem of Christian anti-Semitism had resurfaced, and he was once again seen as treyf [Yiddish for non-kosher, impure, forbidden]" (Epilogue, p. 255).

References
* Bhabha, The Location of Culture, London, 1994, 1-2.
** Amishai-Maisels, "The Jewish Jesus," Jewish Art 9 (1982); Depiction and Interpretation: The Influence of the Holocaust on the Visual Arts, Oxford, 1993.


Response

Hoffman's research ranges over Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian literature, as well as modern painting. He uses the insights of contemporary critical theory as he develops his analysis. The history of the relationship between modern Judaism and the figure of Jesus—especially the Passion and the Crucifixion—is long and complex. Hoffman provides a detailed examination of the topic and its development in early 20th-century Russian literature and art.

To hold that the so-called Jewish Jesus motif was a means for Jews to insert themselves at the very centre of Western civilization is to go too far. Chagall painted Jesus as a universal symbol, that's all. A Jew including the image of Jesus in his paintings was not just an avant-garde artist, but an open-minded person.

The notion that Jewish art including Jesus is some sort of convenient shortcut to full integration is simply a mirage. History shows precisely the opposite. One only has to consider what happened to the European Jewry since the late nineteenth century onwards. In addition, Chagall painted not only Jesus, he also represented the rabbis, the shabbat, and other Jewish traditions. Integration: in 1937, one of Chagall's well-known rabbis was shown in Europe as a masterpiece of "degenerate art" (Entartete Kunst). The painter had to leave the Old Continent to save his life and artwork.

One supposes that Judaism was not so alien in Europe as some writers argue today. On the other hand, the Jews were certainly not the only historical victims in Europe. Yet, their condition was always different from that of any other European minority. Significantly, the "Old Testament" has always been of crucial importance concerning the Gospel; Christianity understands the "New Testament" as the fulfillment of the Hebrew prophecies.

Why some of the Jews, say, the Essens of Qumran (who called themselves "Sons of the Light") kept being Jewish even after Jesus's death remains always a mystery. Anyhow, the point is that avant-garde Jewish artists were creating a link to strenghten their ties with modern European culture. In this sense, appropriate is Hoffman's use of the expression transformative integration (rather than assimilation). Nevertheless, European Jews weren't conveniently "reclaiming" Jesus. They were just trying to find a common ground between Judaism and Christianity. And they did so through the figure of Jesus, who not accidentally had something to do with both. In their work they indeed acknowledged Jesus as an exemplar rabbi, teacher and model.

Hoffman writes of a "weapon," but the truth is that avant-garde Jews simply identified their condition with that of Jesus, who they indeed saw as an archetypal figure of suffering and victim of injustice, precisely as they were.

The re-emergence of a potent weapon?

A not-at-all modern yet very 21st-century Jewish Jesus: More kosher than ever?
Ask the Rabbi.

8.11.12

Aveuglément



Notre Dame de Paris: Synagoga (détail), aussi connue comme "la Synagogue aveugle"

"Dès le XIIe siècle, la Synagogue est représentée les yeux bandés, signe de son refus d’admettre la divinité du Christ. On la montre le plus souvent perdant sa couronne, tenant une lance ou une bannière brisée, dressée au-dessus de la gueule de l’enfer où s’engouffre un groupe de juifs. Lui faisant pendant se dresse l’Eglise triomphante. Ecclesia et Synagoga figuraient côte à côte aux proches des cathédrales, gigantesques livres d’images sculptés pour l’édification des fidèles."

Béatrice Philippe, Être juif dans la société française du Moyen Âge à nos jours, [Paris]: Éditions Montalba, 1979, p. 39


Le diable aveuglant des Juifs
Breviari d’Amor de Matfré Ermengaud de Bézies, c. 1488


La Synagogue aux yeux bandés
Portail de l'Horloge, Cathédrale de Strasbourg


En construisant la ruine: Fabrication de Synagoga ou la Synagogue aux yeux voilés, aveugle et vaincue
Moritz von Schwind, Sabina von Steinbach (Die Bildhauere​i: Sabina von Steinbach an der Figur der "Synagoge" für das Straßburge​r Münster arbeitend), 1844.

Philippe Joutard, L'Église triomphante et la Synagogue voilée, L'Histoire n°269, Dossier "L'antisémitisme", 25.09.2002, p. 38: "L'art occidental a souvent représenté l'aveuglement des Juifs face au christianisme."


Pour la polémique: la Synagogue aux yeux voilés et l'Église triomphante, Rationale divinorum officiorum (Doctrinal traduit en français par Jean Golem sur l'ordre de Charles V), Paris, vers 1380-1390. BNF, Manuscrits, français 176, f. 1

"Soucieux de dégager la nouveauté de son message, le christianisme a souvent été tenté de considérer, à travers l'interprétation des Pères de l'Église, que le "Nouveau Testament" rendait caduc l'"Ancien" ou que, à tout le moins, celui-ci ne pouvait se lire qu'à la lumière du nouvel éclairage apporté par Jésus venu révéler au grand jour ce qui était resté jusque-là dissimulé sous le discours de l'énigme.
La miniature de ce doctrinal utilisant un vocabulaire familier aux artistes des cathédrales médiévales en est une illustration frappante : à gauche, la Synagogue, baissant la tête, les yeux voilés par un bandeau, tenant de la main gauche les tables d'une Loi mosaïque prête à tomber au sol, semble bien, dans l'hésitation de sa posture et l'extrême simplicité de sa robe d'un mauve éteint, sur le point de céder la place à l'Église couronnée et nimbée qui lève son visage avec assurance, portant très haut dans sa main gauche la croix du Christ comme un étendard, et dans sa main droite le ciboire contenant le sang du Christ. L'éclat de ses vêtements, la fierté de sa posture solidement adossée au bord de l'image trahissent l'avantage qui lui est ici ostensiblement accordé" (Expo-BnF : Livres de Parole).

"La Synagogue aveugle, c'est avant tout la Synagogue qu'on a aveuglée, qu'on montre aveugle."

André Benheïm, "La Synagogue perdue," dans Albert Cohen dans son siècle: actes du colloque international de Cerisy-la-Salle, [Septembre 2003], ed. Alain Schaffner et Philippe Zard, Paris: Éditions Le Manuscrit, 2005, p. 29).

4.11.12

The Fallen Woman

by Monika Winiarczyk, Art Historian

The Fallen Woman: Shifting Perceptions of Synagoga
https://monikawiniarczyk.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/the-fallen-woman-shifting-perceptions-of-synagoga/

Synagoga and Ecclesia first appeared in the ninth century in Northern France and Southern Germany, where they were intended as representations of the Old and New Testament and personifications of Judaism and Christianity, respectively. Through their depiction in carved ivory panels, to stained glass windows and manuscript illuminations, the figures developed a distinct iconographical tradition, which featured prominently in the pictorial arts as well as contemporary drama.[1] They were also key figures in Christian theology in commentary, exegesis, and sermons. For example, Ecclesia and Synagoga were the main actors in Pseudo-Augustine’s sixth century Sermo Contra Paganos, Judaeos et Arianos, (Sermon Against Pagans, Jews and Heretics) as well as central figures in the twelfth- century exegetical sermons of the French abbot, Bernard of Clairvaux.[2] The ubiquitous presence of the figures in medieval art and literature makes it almost impossible to engage in medieval studies without coming across Synagoga and Ecclesia.[3]

Any discussion of the figures must begin with a description of Synagoga and Ecclesia’s traditional iconography. In order to do so, it is perhaps best to turn to, what is acknowledged as one of the most celebrated examples of the motif; the south facade of Strasbourg Cathedral.[4]

On the right of the facade is the regal Ecclesia. Adopting a powerful stance, her legs are set wide apart as she throws her shoulders back in an upright posture. The heavy drapery of her robe gathers in orderly folds at her feet. She is the image of might and stability. Every movement of her body appears decisive and controlled as she tightly grips a cross in her hand. A crown sits firmly on top of her head and identifies Ecclesia as a ruling Queen. No aspect of Ecclesia’s appearance communicates inertia, uncertainty or any other weakness. Her power and strength are absolute.


Synagoga, c. 1230. Strasbourg cathedral, France

Standing across from Ecclesia, to the left of Solomon, is the figure of Synagoga. Although her beauty matches that of Ecclesia, unlike her counterpart Synagoga is the image of weakness and frailty. Her stance is weak and she is hunched over. Her movements are hectic and volatile as she appears to be slipping out of the design, with her elbows protruding beyond the facade. The drapery of her robe falls in a muddled pile at her feet giving the impression that she may trip over it. Her frailty is further emphasised by the blindfold tightly wrapped around her eyes which represents the Jews inability to see Christ as their true Messiah. In her hand she holds the tablets of the law which are slipping from her grasp and tangled up within the holds of her robe. These symbolise the Jewish attachment to the now obsolete Old Law. Like the broken staff in her hand, Synagoga looks damaged and defeated. She is isolated and turns away from the rest of the facade. Her only symbol of power is a crown located at her feet which suggests Synagoga is the overthrown Queen who was once powerful but whose time has now passed.[5] Her delicate but defeated form led Hans Reinhardt to describe her as a ‘slender reed being shaken by the wind;’ beautiful, fragile and destined for destruction.[6] From the eleventh through to the fifteenth century the theme of victory and subordination is one of the most common attributes of the motif of Ecclesia and Synagoga.[7] This opposition of two female figures, embodying such different concepts creates a powerfully dramatic and enigmatic image which suggests a deeper meaning and demands to be noticed and examined.

Synagoga’s mystique is further emphasised when studied alongside other medieval Christian representations of the Jew. In medieval politics of representation the Christian was virtuous and beautiful; the non-Christian was not. In traditional iconography the Jew is depicted as an unattractive and malicious male. An example of this can be seen in the Cistercian Psalter Crucifixion. In this illumination the Jews are represented as torturing Christ and participating in the crucifixion. The Jews are shown literally tying Christ to the cross. This reflects the medieval theological belief which identified the Jews as directly responsible for Christ’s death.[8] More importantly the three Jews are depicted as men, wearing stereotypical Jewish hats, bearded with crooked noses. Unlike the submissive, beautiful and female Synagoga the stereotypical medieval Jew is an aggressive male.

In light of her omnipresence and unique appearance it is not surprising that since the late nineteenth century Synagoga’s strikingly frail but beautiful appearance has inspired a wealth of literature and numerous interpretations.[9] The following discussion aims to examine the historiography of Synagoga, and based on the evolution of current research; determine the possible direction of future studies.

One of the earliest studies of Synagoga was carried out in 1894 by Paul Weber. His fundamental text Geistliches Schauspiel und kirchliche Kunst (Religious Drama and Church Art) studied the relationship between pictorial representations of Synagoga and her depiction in medieval drama.[10] Weber’s study viewed the figure as the embodiment of medieval anti-Semitism. He concluded that despite the figure’s beautiful appearance, like the deformed male Jew of Christian art, Synagoga condemned medieval Jews. Therefore initially the figure was seen as a further manifestation of Christian anti-Semitism as reflected in the writings of the Church fathers such as John Chrysostom who condemned the Jews and accused them of immorality and madness.[11]

This negative interpretation of Synagoga was questioned by Wolfgang Seiferth. His text, Synagogue and Church in the Middle Ages: Two Symbols in Art and Literature, reached a more ambiguous conclusion.[12] Studying the development of the iconography of Synagoga from the ninth through to the fifteenth century he concluded that due to the allegorical nature of the figure it denies any concrete definition. Seiferth traced the use of the female allegories or personification to Classical Antiquity when female allegories would often be used within a historical context to represent ideas which they did not literally represent.[13] Using the example of the two female personifications of conquered lands depicted on the amour of the statue of Augustus at Prima Porta, Seiferth shows how multifaceted an allegory could be. Removed from this context the two female figures could represent anything. The meaning of the personification is volatile and strictly dependant on the context in which they appear.

This interpretation draws from the classical understanding of the function of the personification as presented by Morton Bloomfield. He stated that the connotations of a personification are not determined by what it represents but the predicates that are attached to it.[14] As such Seiferth presents Synagoga as a far more complex figure which reflected the dual nature of Judaism in medieval Christian theology.[15] While the Jews were accused of deicide and condemned they were also acknowledged as God’s first chosen people. This can be seen in the writings of the French abbot Bernard of Clairvaux who adopting the fourth century ideology of St Augustine stated, ‘slay them not least my people forget.’[16] He believed that Jews should be protected as they are living relics of the Old Testament, and their conversion is a condition of the second coming of Christ. Thus he presented the Jews as playing a vital role in the past and future of Christian salvation history. This sentiment can also be seen in the writing of Pope Innocent III. In 1199 he wrote:

"Although in many ways the disbelief of the Jews must be reproved, since nevertheless through them our own faith is truly proved, they must not be oppressed grievously by the faithful as the prophet says: ‘Do not slay them, lest these be forgetful of Thy Law, as if he were saying more openly: ‘Do not wipe out the Jews completely, lest perhaps Christians might be able to forget Thy Law, which the former, although not understanding it, present in their books to those who do understand it."[17]

For Seiferth, Synagoga’s allegorical nature could represent the various incarnation of the Jew in Christian theology. Therefore rather than granting the figure any fixed meaning he believed that the connotations of the figure were directly related on the specific circumstances of her representation. A similar conclusion was reached by Bernhard Blumenkranz who believed that Synagoga could both condemn the Jews and communicate their position within Christianity. However Blumenkranz believed that the downtrodden appearance of Synagoga against the victorious Ecclesia always communicated a sense of subordination and represented Judaism as inferior to Christianity.

Ruth Mellinkoff’s study of medieval iconography supported this conclusion stating that the figures had a firmly established iconographical tradition which was intended on communicating the superiority of Christianity over Judaism. Synagoga’s traditional attributes of a blindfold, slipping tablets of the law and a broken banner all communicate weakness which was emphasised by the contrast with Ecclesia who’s attributes of a crown and upturned chalice are indicative of power. [18]

These studies which have focused on tracing the iconography of Ecclesia and Synagoga throughout their iconographical history have all come to conclude that the figure is a representation of the Christian theological conception of the Jew; a conception which at times appears to be almost schizophrenic. However regardless of whether the figure is a positive or negative representation of Judaism all these studies agree that the only constant attribute of Synagoga is her defeat and dissolution.

Since the middle of the twentieth century several scholars have focused on specific depictions of Synagoga in order to examine the impact a specific context could have on the figure’s reception. Most of these studies have centred on the previously described Strasbourg south facade. The earliest of these studies were carried out by Adolf Weiss, Adalbert Erler and Otto von Simson.[19] All three of their studies identified the square in front of the facade as the seat of local justice and the site of the local municipal courts. Taking into account this legal context they come to the conclusion that the eschatological theme and heavenly judgement depicted on the south facade, would be seen by medieval audiences as a reflection of the earthly judgement of medieval legal practices.[20] Ecclesia and Synagoga mirror the innocent and the guilty parties of the medieval courts while their presence in the divine sphere of the facade can be interpreted as a depiction of the saved and the damned; the innocent and the guilty parties in God’s final judgement.[21] This conclusion was confirmed by Bernard Nicolai in his 2002 article, "Orders in Stone: Social Reality and Artistic Approach: The Case of the Strasbourg South Portal."[22] In view of the function of the facade these studies concluded that within the right context Synagoga and Ecclesia could surpass their traditional roles as the personifications of Judaism and Christianity and depict the two spectrums of Christian morality; the sinful and the righteous; the damned and the saved; the guilty and the innocent.

Reviewing the landscape of Synagoga’s historiography one can see that all these studies have interpreted the figure in relation to medieval theology. Even those studies which have suggested that Synagoga can embody more than the Christian theological conception of the Jew still relate Synagoga to the theological concepts of Christian salvation history and the consequences of moral and immoral behaviour. However theological interpretations of the subject would only be accessible to educated audiences who had enough of an understanding of contemporary theology to be able to apply them to the beautiful downtrodden figure of Synagoga. Taking in to consideration the allegorical nature of the figure and the notion that not all medieval spectators would look upon Synagoga as an abstraction of complex theological ideas, two recent studies have examined the figure from a more secular perspective.

The first of these studies was carried out by Sara Lipton.[23] In her article, The Temple is My Body: Gender, Carnality, and Synagoga in the Bible Moralisée, Sara Lipton presented a new reading of the figure of Synagoga. As the personification of the worldly and flesh oriented Old (Jewish) Law, Lipton presents Synagoga as a representation of the material world and examines the connotations communicated by her figure in the thirteenth century, Bible Moralisée which were illustrated Bibles, accompanied by an illustrated commentary.[24] These Bibles took the form of a novel in order to present sacred texts and were aimed at a courtly audience.[25] Instead of examining Synagoga in terms of her opposition with Ecclesia, Lipton examines the figure in relation to the medieval rhetoric of gender and through Synagoga’s relationship with male figures in the manuscript. In the commentary to several biblical passages Synagoga takes on various female stereotypes such as the Disobedient Wife; the Seductress; the mourning Mother and the naive Daughter and the resentful sister. Depending on which of these roles Synagoga embodied, the figure altered from virtuous to sinful; from feminine to masculine to androgynous; from threatening to submissive and was transformed back again.

From this analysis the article comes to the conclusion that Synagoga as a representation of the material does not condemn the body or earthly world but rather reinforces its importance and value. This study re-evaluates the previously held belief that the Middle Ages viewed the material and spiritual world as binary opposites with the former being seen as bad and the later as good.

Nowhere in the text is Synagoga condemned or permanently ostracised. Throughout the commentary and the accompanying imagery Synagoga is punished, buried, purged but ultimately redeemed. Synagoga and her corporeal nature are presented not as an antithesis to Christianity but as an integral part of the Christian identity; like women are an essential component of society. Sara Lipton believes that this conclusion is partially dictated by the nature of the Bible Moralisée and its intended audience. As luxurious material goods which were intended to be enjoyed for their material qualities, the Bible Moralisée in which Synagoga appears praises the physical wealth which formed an integral and growing part of courtly life. Focusing on Synagoga’s femininity Lipton presents the argument that Synagoga’s female body, can in specific circumstances, be a representation of the complex relationship between medieval Christianity and material wealth.

Synagoga’s female body was also the focus of Nina Rowe’s recent studies. Began in a 2008 paper, Idealization and Subjection at the south Façade of Strasbourg Cathedral, and expanded upon in her book The Jew, the Cathedral and the Medieval City: Synagoga and Ecclesia in the Thirteenth Century Rowe focuses on the appearance on Synagoga on cathedral facades, across central Europe, in the thirteenth century.[26] Examining the opposition of the weak and beautiful Synagoga against the victorious and mighty Ecclesia, Rowe related the figure to contemporary politics and the social status of medieval Jews. She believes that the figures appearance communicated the imperial position towards the Jews. Under royal decree Jews were protected as their economic activity was vital to the wealth of the kingdom. However Jews were considered to be the king’s property. Attacking a Jew was viewed as a similar offence to attacking the King’s horse. Through interpretations of the Strasbourg, Bamberg and Reims Cathedral facades, Rowe concludes that Synagoga communicated the ideal identity and social position of the Jew in thirteenth century Christian Europe;

"she is a servile yet integral member of the Christian milieu. Her beauty marks her as an insider within the ideal Christian system. Her decrepitude ensures her submission… she conveys the virtue of a Judaism that maintains a docile presence within the Christian domain."[27]

This study does not present Synagoga as a representation of the theological Jew but rather the medieval Jew; the Jew who would cross the town square, under Ecclesia’s watchful gaze and nod a greeting to his Christian neighbour. Like Lipton related Synagoga to medieval attitudes towards the material world, Rowe interprets the figure in relation to the social position of the Jews in the thirteenth century.

These two studies can be viewed as an indication of the future historiography surrounding Synagoga. Having considered Synagoga’s relationship to Christian theology over the past century, it is now time to examine the figure in relation to the culture which created her. As Rowe stated, “Synagoga is an abstraction.”[28] She is a creation of the medieval culture. As such Synagoga needs to be understood with respect to medieval social, religious and political ideas and comprehension of the world.

___

Notes

[1] Wolfgang S. Seiferth, Synagogue and Church in the Middle Ages: Two Symbols in Art and Literature, trans. by Lee Chadeayne and Paul Gottwald (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1970), p.108; for example of drama see: John Wright, trans., Play of Antichrist (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1967).

[2] St Augustine, Sermo contra judaeos, paganos, et Arianos de Symbolo, Migne, P.L. XLII, 1117-30 and Bernard of Clairvaux, ‘Sermones Super Cantica Canticorum’ 14.2.4 in Opera, ed. by Jean Leclercq et al. (Rome, 1957-77); Migne, Patrologia Latina 42, 1115-1139.

[3] Nina Rowe, "Rethinking Ecclesia and Synagoga in the Thirteenth Century," Hourihane, Colum, (ed.), Gothic Art & Thought in the Later Medieval Period: Essays in Honour of Willibald Sauerlander, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011) p.265

[4] Nina Rowe, "Idealization and Subjection at the south Façade of Strasbourg Cathedral" in Beyond the Yellow Badge: Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semitism in Medieval and Early Modern Visual Culture, ed. by Mitchell B. Merback (Leiden: Brill, 2008), p.179 and footnote 13 for list of example of Synagoga’s appearances on Cathedrals.

[5] This crown is no longer visible but the image shows a sixteenth century engraving which shows that originally there was a crown located at Synagoga’s feet. [Cf. Isaac Brunn, Le portail sud de la cathédrale, gravure sur cuivre, 1617; Cabinet des Estampes et des Dessins, Strasbourg. Joconde. Sculptures médiévales de la cathédrale de Strasbourg: Le transept sud - "Entre 1225 et 1235, un atelier extraordinairement novateur venu de régions plus occidentales conçoit les parties supérieures du croisillon sud et le Pilier des Anges, puis les tympans des deux portails sud et le couple de l'Eglise et de la Synagogue placé de part et d'autre de ces portails. Ces deux figures de femmes, allégories des religions chrétienne et judaïque, comptent parmi les plus célèbres chefs-d'œuvre de l'art occidental du Moyen Age.
La Synagogue vaincue et l'Eglise triomphante appartiennent à une symbolique traditionnelle dont les représentations se multiplient à partir du milieu du 13e siècle.
A gauche, l'Eglise victorieuse et couronnée, tenant dans ses mains le calice et la bannière que surmonte la croix, considère avec assurance la Synagogue. Celle-ci, qui tient une lance brisée, détourne sa tête aux yeux bandés, expression de son refus de reconnaître dans le Christ le Messie attendu. Elle paraît laisser tomber les tables de la Loi, symbole de l'Ancien Testament dépassé. Ces sculptures encadraient à l'origine une figure du roi Salomon placé entre les deux portails, assis sur un trône et tenant une épée, figure aujourd'hui disparue. Selon certaines hypothèses, la clef du rapprochement de ces trois personnages se trouverait dans les interprétations faites au 12e siècle du fameux livre saint le "Cantique des Cantiques", qui les présentent comme les trois personnages principaux des événements de la fin des temps."
See also Emmanuel Noussis, L'Histoire des Arts: Sculptures de la cathédrale de Strasbourg, 26.9.2012].

[6] Hans Reinhardt, La Cathedrale De Strasbourg (Arthaud: Paris, 1972), p.108: Reinhardt’s description of Strasbourg Synagoga which conveys the weakness and beauty of the figure.

[7] Nina Rowe 2008 p.179 and footnote 13 for list of example of Synagoga’s appearances on Cathedrals.

[8] Debra Higgs Strickland, Saracens, Demons, & Jews: Making Monsters in Medieval Art (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003) p.107

[9] See: Rowe 2008; Seiferth 1970; Nina Rowe, The Jew, the Cathedral and the Medieval City: Synagoga and Ecclesia in the Thirteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011); Bernd Nicolai, ‘Orders in Stone: Social Reality and Artistic Approach. The Case of the Strasbourg South Portal,’ Gesta, Vol. 41, No. 2 (2002), p. 111-128; Otto Von Simson, ‘Le Programme Sculptural du Transept Meridonal de la Cathedrale de Strasbourg,’ Bulletin de la Societe des Amis de la Cathedrale de Strasbourg, Vol. 10, 1972, p.33-50 and Adolf Weis, ‘Die “Synagoge” am Südquerhaus zu Straßburg,’ Das Münster, Nr. 1 (1947), p.65-80; Ruth Mellinkoff, Outcasts: Signs of Otherness in Northern European Art of the Late Middle Ages (Oxford : University of California Press, 1993); Annette Weber, ‘Glaube und Wissen-Ecclesia et Synagoga,’ in Wissenspopularisierung: Konzepte der Wissensverbreitung im Wandel, ed. by Carsten Kretschmann (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2003); Herbert Jochum, Ecclesia und Synagoga: Das Judentum in der Christlichen Kunst: Austellungskatalog (Saarbrücken: Museum, 1993); Cohen, E., ‘The Controversy Between Church and Synagoga in some of Bosch’s Paintings,’ Studia Rosenthaliana, Vol.18 (1984), p.1-11; Bernhard Blumenkranz, ‘Geographie historique d’un theme de l’iconographic religieuse: Les Representations de Synagoga en France,’ in Melanges offerts a Rene Crozet, ed. by P. Gallais and Y.J. Rious, 2 vols. (Poiteres: Societe d’Etudes Medievales, 1966), II, p. 1142-57; for discussion of Jews in medieval theology see Jeremy Cohen, Living Letters of the Law: Ideas of the Jew in Medieval Christianity (London: University of California Press, 1999), for example p.134.

[10] Paul Weber, Geistliches Schauspiel und kirchliche Kunst in ihrem Verhaltnis erlautert an einer Ikonographie der Kirche und Synagogue: Eine kunsthistorische Studie (Stuttgart; Ebner & Seubert, 1894)

[11] John Chrysostom, Logoi kata Ioudaion I.6, Patrologia Graeca 48:852

[12] See: Seiferth 1970

[13] James J. Paxson, ‘Personification’s Gender,’ Rhetorica, Vol. 16, No. 2 (Spring, 1998), p.153.

[14] Morton W. Bloomfield, ‘A Grammatical Approach to Personification Allegory,’ Modern Philology, Vol. 60, No. 3 (Feb., 1963), p.165.

[15] For discussion of Jews in medieval theology see Jeremy Cohen, Living Letters of the Law: Ideas of the Jew in Medieval Christianity (London: University of California Press, 1999)

[16] Robert Chazan, The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom, 1000-1500 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) p.37

[17] Innocent III, “Licet perfidia Iudeorum sit multipliciter improbanda, quia tamen per eos fides nostra veraciter comprobatur, non sunt a fidelibus graviter opprimendi, dicente propheta: ne occideris eos ne quando obliviscantur legis tue, ac si diceretur appertius, ne deleveris omnino Iudeos, ne forte Christiani legis tue valeant oblivisci, quam ipsi non intelligentes, in libris suis intelligentibus representant:” Constitutio pro Judaeis, Rome, 15 September 1199, Apostolic See, ed. Simsonsohn, 1:74-75, #71

[18] Mellinkoff, Ruth, Outcasts: Signs of Otherness in Northern European Art of the Late Middle Ages, vol. 1 (Oxford : University of California Press, 1993), p.49.

[19] see: Otto Von Simson, ‘Le Programme Sculptural du Transept Meridonal de la Cathedrale de Strasbourg,’ Bulletin de la Societe des Amis de la Cathedrale de Strasbourg, Vol. 10 (1972), pp.33-50; Adolf Weis, ‘Die ‘Synagoge’ am Südquerhaus zu Straßburg,’ Das Münster, Nr. 1 (1947), pp. 65-80; Erler, Adalbert, Das Strassburger Münster im Rechtsleben des Mittelalters (Frankfurt: V. Klostermann, 1954)

[20] Bernd Nicolai, ‘Orders in Stone: Social Reality and Artistic Approach. The Case of the Strasbourg South Portal,’ Gesta, Vol. 41, No. 2 (2002), pp. 111-128, footnote:70.

[21] Simson 1972 p.37

[22] Nicolai 2002 p.111-128

[23] Sara Lipton, "The Temple is my Body: Gender, Carnality, and Synagoga in the Bible Moralisee" in Frojmovic, Eva, ed., Imagining the Self, Imagining the Other Visual Representation and Jewish-Christian Dynamics in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period (Leiden: Brill, 2002).

[24] Sara Lipton, Images of Intolerance: The Representation of Jews and Judaism in the Bible Moralisée (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), p.1; see also John Lowden, The Making of the Bibles Moralisées: The Manuscripts, Vol.1 (Pennsylvania: Penn State Press, 2000).

[25] Gerald B. Guest, "Picturing Women in the First Bible Moralisée," in Insights and Interpretations: Studies in Celebration of the Eighty-Fifth Anniversary of the Index of Christian Art, ed. by Colum Hourihane, (Princeton: Princton University Press, 2002), p.106.

[26] Rowe 2008; 2011

[27] Rowe 2008 p.197

[28] ibid p.197

Monika Winiarczyk, "The Fallen Woman: Shifting Perceptions of Synagoga," abstract from a paper delivered at the 2nd International Students' Workshop, Central European Jewish Studies: The Students' Voice, October 2011.

___

Imagen
Ecclesia et Synagoga
vitrales semicirculares
Vitrail de la rédemption, siglo XII
Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Châlons, Marne, France
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cath%C3%A9drale_Saint-%C3%89tienne_de_Ch%C3%A2lons
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Vitrail_L%27%C3%A9glise_Cath%C3%A9drale_Saint-%C3%89tienne_de_Ch%C3%A2lons.jpg
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:La_synagogue.jpg

16.10.12

Lambeth Bible


Synagoga with prophets. The hand of God lifts her veil.

Ecclesia with apostles

The Lambeth Bible is a 12th Century illuminated manuscript (probable date 1150-1170), one among the finest surviving giant bibles from Romanesque England. It exists in two volumes. The first volume isin the Lambeth Palace Library (MS3) and covers Genesis to Job, presenting 328 pages of vellum, each measuring 518 x 353 mm. Originally this first volume was paired with another (MS4) in the Lambeth Palace Library, but in 1924 it was realised that the correct pairing was with a second incomplete volume now held in the Maidstone Museum & Art Gallery (MS P.5).

Romanesque painting. Lambeth Bible, Canterbury, 1150-1170, London, Lambeth Palace Library, ms. 3, fol. 198: Tree of Jesse, featuring two roundels with Ecclesia et Synagoga.

The Bible shows the influence of Byzantine style on Romanesque manuscript painting. The subject of the above-illustrated folio is the Genealogy of Christ expressed via the Tree of Jesse, referring to the opening of Isaiah 11: "And there shall come forth a Rod out of the tree of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots..." From the recumbent Jesse a tree leads upwards through the blue-clad figure of Mary to the half-figure of Christ at the top, who is surrounded by seven doves to represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 40:2). In the top left roundel, two apostles support a crowned female figure representing Ecclesia. Top right, the veil is lifted up from the figure of Synagoga, who is supported by two prophets (Moses, with his horns of light, on the right). In the bottom two roundels are four prophets pointing upwards to the Redeemer: one is Isaiah who holds a scroll with his prophecy (Isaiah 11); other prophets occupy the roundels at the four corners of the page. In the two middle roundels flanking Mary are the four virtues of Mercy, Truth, Justice and Peace, spoken of in Psalm 85: "Mercy and Truth are met together; Righteousness and Peace have kissed." Mercy holds a vase, and Justice holds her scales. In St Jerome's commentary, Mercy represents the Gentiles and Truth represents the Jews; their meeting refers to the union of Jew and Gentile, Old and New Testament. This page is an example of the figured diagram, expressing a series of complex theological doctrines.





14.10.12

Burgos


Gil de Siloé y Diego de la Cruz
Retablo de la Concepción | Altarpiece of the Conceptio​n
parte superior | top
Ecclesia, María y Jesús | Mary and Jesus, Synagoga
1486-1492
Capilla Santa Ana, Catedral de Burgos | St Anne Chapel, Burgos Cathedral

Ecclesia et Synagoga

Gil de Siloé y Diego de la Cruz
Retablo de la Concepción | Altarpiece of the Conceptio​n
Árbol de Jesé | Tree of Jesse
1486-1492
Capilla Santa Ana, Catedral de Burgos | St Anne Chapel, Burgos Cathedral

11.10.12

Christian Views


The ongoing Christian debate over Christian views on the Mosaic Covenant began in the lifetime of the apostles, notably at the Council of Jerusalem and Incident at Antioch, and parallels the ongoing debate about Paul of Tarsus and Judaism.

Supersessionism, also called replacement theology, is the Christian theological position that the New Covenant replaces the Mosaic Covenant, which is often referred to as the "Old Covenant". Supersessionism views Christendom and the Christian Church as being the inheritor of the promises made to the biblical Israelites and proselytes. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1967, "The Law of the Gospel fulfills, refines, surpasses, and leads the Old Law to its perfection." This position is in direct contrast with dual-covenant theology which posits that both biblical covenants still apply.

Dual-covenant theology holds that Jews may simply keep the Law of Moses, because of the "everlasting covenant" between Abraham and God expressed in the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 17:13), whereas Gentiles (those not Jews or Jewish proselytes) must convert to Christianity or alternatively accept the Seven Laws of Noah to be assured of a place in the World to Come.
The Catholic Church does not support dual covenant theology and even if holding in 2006 that "The covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them" (US Catholic Catechism for Adults), since 2008-9 it argues that "To the Jewish people, whom God first chose to hear his Word, belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ" (US Bishops get Vatican Recognitio for Change in Adult Catechism; USCCB News Release).

Ecclesia et Synagoga
Modern figurines by Paula Mary Turnbull

Christian views. Although Christianity affirms that the Pentateuch is part of Scripture that is inspired of God, Christian tradition denies that all of the Old Covenant still applies directly to Christians. Different arguments are used to reach that conclusion and there are differences of opinion within Christianity as to which parts, if any, still apply. Christianity, almost without exception, teaches that this New Covenant is the instrument through which God offers mercy and atonement to mankind. However, there are differences of opinion as to how the New Covenant affects the validity of the Old Covenant, how many Old Covenant laws such as the Ten Commandments are continued or renewed in the New Covenant, and related issues. The topic is still frequently debated among New Testament scholars and this produce many views. Yet, significantly, as pope Benedict XVI puts it, "The Gospel does not, of course, abolish the [Mosaic] Scriptures, nor push them to one side, but rather interprets them, so that henceforth and forever they form the Scriptures of Christians, without which the Gospel would have no foundation" (Joseph Ratzinger, Sacred Places, 2005).

9.10.12

Surrounded by Grotesqueness



Ecclesia et Synagoga surrounded by Grotesqueness
Initial from a Gothic manuscript, 13th century



Context. The complete 13th-century page

Abbildungen und Literatur



Abbildungen und Literatur zu Ecclesia und Synagoga
Links zum Thema Ecclesia und Synagoga


Ecclesia und Synagoga in Straßburg und Worms


Bamberger Dom
Skulpturen Ecclesia und Synagoga. Das Eingangsportal findet sich als ganzes Bild auf unserer Seite Mittelalter1.


Freiburger Münster
Die Statuen von Ecclesia und Synagoga in der Eingangshalle (etwas verwirrend unter der Überschrift Glasfenster) sowie die Glasfenster.


Kathedrale von Bourges
Glasfensters mit dem Motiv des gekreuzigten Jesus und Ecclesia und Synagoga.


Kathedrale von Chartres
Ecclesia und Synagoga als Glasfenstergemälde.


AG Deutsch-Jüdische Geschichte im Verband der Geschichtslehrer Deutschlands: "Eine unglaublich umfassende Zusammenstellung von über 100 Fotos des Ecclesia-Synagoga-Motivs von Kirchen sowie aus Büchern zusammen mit Bildmaterial aus dem weiteren Kontext hat Mariano Akerman auf picasaweb / Google ins Internet gestellt - ein Schatz online! Siehe dazu auch auf der Website von M. Akerman (auf Spanisch)."

Religions- und kulturgeschichtliche Analyse der Thematik:

Notizen zum historischen Hintergrund, siehe auf Historia Interculturalis

Wissenschaftliche Analysen und Darstellungen:

Alfred Raddatz: Christliche Kunst - auch ein Spiegel des Verhältnisses von Christen und Juden

Franz Böhmisch: Synagoga und Ecclesia. Exegese einer Beziehung in Wort und Bild

Benedikt Oehl: Die Altercatio Ecclesia et Synagoga. Ein antijudaistischer Dialog der Spätantike, Doktorarbeit Univ. Bonn 2012

Jacob Lackner: Jews through Christian Eyes: The Jewish ‘Other’ in Thirteenth-Century Papal Documents, Artwork, and Sermons, M.A. Thesis, Texas Tech University, 2012.

Europeana Collections

Judaica europeana

W-Ecclesia-and-Synagoga ; W-Synagoga

Commons collection

DJ-Gegeschichte

On Crowns and Pointy Hats

Has God Only One Blessing?

Academia.edu research share
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