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The Akedah in Late Antique Synagogues: The Function of Figurative Art in the Expression of Localized Jewish Identity

Abby Massarano. "The Akedah in Late Antique Synagogues: The Function of Figurative Art in the Expression of Localized Jewish Identity." MA Thesis, University of Washington, 2022.
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The three late antique Levantine synagogues at Dura-Europos, Sepphoris, and Beit Alpha all include within their elaborate decorative schemes a figurative depiction of the Binding of Isaac, or Akedah narrative. Analyzing the narrative depictions in the context of the rest of the synagogue’s artistic design, the local and regional visual culture, and known Jewish synagogue practices illuminates artistic variances within each community. These variances open the door for greater speculation on the function of art in late antique Jewish communities and demonstrate the rich, sophisticated visual culture of synagogue decoration throughout the Levant.

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