Crossing over from Earth to Heaven: The image of the Ark and the Merkavah in the North French Hebrew Miscellany

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Abstract

The North French Hebrew Miscellany is a Hebrew illuminated manuscript produced in northern France around 1278-1280. On a full page illumination we see the Tabernacle implements set in a golden medallion. The image contains the Ark of Covenant with a rainbow shaped arch above it, flanked by two six winged angels. We see a correlation between this portrayal and the creation scene in this manuscript. This paper suggests that the image displays cosmological ideas, based on the vision of Ezekiel, as well as the mystical writings of the Hekhalot literature and of Ashkenazi pietism. The Ark of Covenant, although the most holy religious object, still it is a corporeal one; Moses was instructed to build the desert Tabernacle in the design of the created world. The Ark is also made in the image of the Throne of God, and in a way, the Ark mediates between Earth and Heaven. Against the background of contemporary textual and artistic evidence, this border crossing is examined.
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)135-158
Number of pages24
JournalKabbalah; Journal for the Study of Jewish Mystical Texts
Issue number26
StatePublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Tabernacle
  • Mysticism -- Judaism
  • Jewish illumination of books and manuscripts
  • Cabala
  • North French Hebrew miscellany -- Criticism
  • interpretation
  • etc
  • Mysticism in art

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