Book Details

The Bible With and Without Jesus

The Bible With and Without Jesus


OUR BOOK’S COVER, Marc Chagall’s Abraham and the Three Angels (1966), offers readers the choice of multiple interpretations. Some may see an invocation of Genesis 18, the story of three angels or messengers who appear to Abraham and Sarah and announce that Sarah, well into menopause, will soon, miraculously, give birth to a son. For these readers, the picture may bring to mind a main theme of the Bible, expressed through the text’s powerful question, “Is anything too wonderful for the LORD?” (Gen 18:14). Those aware of Jewish biblical interpretation may be reminded of the tradition of Abraham as the model of hospitality, who every day “sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day” (Gen 18:1) to greet any passersby and to give them water and food to refresh themselves before they continued on their journey. Christian readers might focus on the meal as representing the Eucharist, or on the angels’ haloes, a typical depiction in Christian art, and view this painting as recalling earlier Christian depictions of this scene where the haloes indicate that these three angelic visitors are the Holy Trinity. To complicate matters more: What does it mean that the Jewish Chagall painted this scene from the Hebrew Bible using images that characterize Eastern Orthodox icons, in particular Andrei Rublev’s The Old Testament Trinity?

Author: Amy-Jill Levine

Pages: 413

Issue By: eBook 707

Published: 11 months ago

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