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Basic Books
Our Sacred Signs: How Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Art Draw from the Same Source / Edition 1

Our Sacred Signs: How Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Art Draw from the Same Source / Edition 1

by Ori Z. Soltes
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The art of the three Abrahamic religions-Christianity, Judaism, and Islam-has a tangled, interwoven history. Symbols cross back and forth among the three faiths, adapted to reflect that faith's specific spiritual needs. And much of this symbolic language predates any of the Abrahamic faiths entirely. In Our Sacred Signs, Ori Soltes traces the interconnectedness of religious symbols such as the Star of David, which isn't, it turns out, exclusive to Judaism at all. He shows that the various ways that Jesus is portrayed on the cross recall an artistic tradition that is in no way unique to Christianity. And he shows that religious architectural conventions as simple as the dome represent early "pagan" traditions. The narrative-essentially a series of overlapping stories-moves through the halls of museums and off to the holy sites of the three religions, tracing the millennia-long artistic trail that has endured even as the West moved toward secularization in the last three hundred years. Soltes shows us how art has long been used as an instrument to take us where words cannot follow. Our Sacred Signs is a breathtaking and revelatory journey through human history, its gods, and its art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813342979
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 10/31/2005
Edition description: REV
Pages: 275
Product dimensions: 6.64(w) x 9.78(h) x 1.04(d)

About the Author

Ori Z. Soltes is Goldman Professorial Lecturer in theology and fine arts at Georgetown University and a regular lecturer at the Smithsonian Institution and at many other colleges and institutions.. He is the author of many books including The Ashen Rainbow, Untangling the Web and Jews on Trial. He is the editor-in-chief of the Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia online (

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