Fehler: Laden des Popup-Fensters fehlgeschlagen
The Role of Hebrew Letters in Making the Divine Visible
Medieval Jews engaged in various artistic activities and numerous illuminated manuscripts appear as a substantial part of visual culture in central Europe. Among the wealth of Christian visual themes, however, there was one that the Jews could not integrate into their religious culture: they were not prepared to create anthropomorphic representations of God. This stand does not imply that Jewish imagery never met the challenge involved in representing the Divine. Among the most lavish medieval Hebrew manuscripts is a group of prayer books that contain the liturgical hymns that were commonly part of the Central European prayer rites. Many of these hymns address God by means of the initial word el (God) and other forms that refer to the Divine. The proposed paper will examine these initials and the different ways in which they are integrated into the overall imagery of decorated initial panels, their frames, and entire page layouts.