Abstract

Abstract:

Apart from Adam and Eve, all the figures depicted nude in early Christian art are Jewish men, notably Daniel in the lions’ den, Jonah at rest under the gourd plant, and Jesus in the scene of his baptism. Notwithstanding biblical authority to the contrary, they are consistently depicted as uncircumcised. This “error” may be attributed to ignorance, inadvertence, or an unreflective mimicry of readily available models, but this paper argues that such visual uncircumcision had, instead, a principled basis. In particular, it conformed to negative theological, social, and aesthetic attitudes towards the Jewish ritual and, more generally, towards Jews.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3184
Print ISSN
1067-6341
Pages
pp. 601-629
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-26
Open Access
No
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