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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2008

T C 357 • Genesis in Jewish and Christian Art

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
43845 W
12:00 PM-3:00 PM
CRD 007B

Course Description

A interdisciplinary seminar in religious art and the ways in which artists depicting narrative scenes in Genesis drew upon early Jewish and Christian literature as inspiration for their work. We will also explore additional factors contributing to the ways in which artists from each religious community depicted these narratives, borrowing from one another either via access to one another's literature or visual iconography. In this analysis we will study both early Rabbinic and Patristic literature, and genres of art including wall paintings, mosaics, ivories, wood carving, illuminated manuscripts and objects of minor art. Chronologically, the scope of the study will extend from the Late Roman (second century AD) period to the close of the Renaissance (1600 AD), and geographically from the Levant to Western Europe, with particular emphasis on the art of France, Italy, and Spain.

Grading Policy

Grading will be based: on oral presentations 15%, participation in class discussion 15%, the one page weekly papers 20%, and a final 25 page research paper discussing the ways in which each assigned author or text impacted on biblical illustration, vis a vis issues that we discussed in class 50%. Attendance at each session is mandatory.


Selected chapters in Genesis and the New Testament in translation
Robin Jensen, Understanding Early Christian Art. Routledge: 2000
Lawrence Nees, Early Medieval Art. Oxford: 2002
James Kugel, The Bible as it Was. Harvard:1997.

About the Professor

Harold Liebowitz received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He is interested in archaeology and art history of the land of Israel in the Biblical and Greco-Roman periods as well as medieval Jewish illuminated manuscripts from Spain, among others. He has taught courses in Biblical history and archaeology, Jewish ethics, and Near Eastern and Western art. Professor Liebowitz is also an ordained rabbi.


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