Monday, August 3, 2015
Text Explores Meanings of Sculpture in Roman Culture
Yaron Eliav leverages expertise in Jewish studies and archaeology to serve as an associate professor of Rabbinic literature and Jewish history of late antiquity in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. The award-winning author of God’s Mountain: The Temple Mount in Time, Space, and Memory, Yaron Eliav has also edited a number of volumes, such as The Sculptural Environment of the Roman Near East: Reflections on Culture, Ideology, and Power.
The text explores the concept that public sculptures served as “mass media” in Roman culture as they occupied urban centers across the empire. According to the text, the sculptures were a “plastic language” that worked to convey religious, social, and political messages to the public. The book utilizes a wide range of ancient sources to analyze the various and even contradictory functions and meanings of statues in the complex Roman Near East society.
To generate the text, 28 scholars, archaeologists, and arts historians combined their knowledge of Greco-Roman, Christian, and Jewish culture. The multi-disciplinary experts also addressed Roman sculpture in the wider context of antiquity so as to reexamine existing academic consensus on various matters, such as the longtime “conflict” between Christianity, paganism, and Judaism.