Symbolism In Jewish Art Essay

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The teachings of the priests were symbolic in the sense that in them sign and image coincided. As the hieroglyphs attest, the word originally also had a pictorial function. This function was transferred to myths. They, like magic rites, refer to the repetitive cycle of nature. Nature as self-repetition is the core of the symbolic: an entity or a process which is conceived as eternal because it is reenacted again and again in the guise of the symbol.
Inexhaustibility, endless renewal, and the permanence of what they signify are not only attributes of all symbols but their true content.
Contrary to the Jewish Genesis, the representations of creation in which the world emerges from the primal mother, the cow or the egg, are symbolic.
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Within it special laws prevail. Just as the sorcerer begins the ceremony by marking out from all its surroundings the place in which the sacred forces are to come into play, each work of art is closed off from reality by its own circumference. The very renunciation of external effects by which art is distinguished from magical sympathy binds art only more deeply to the heritage of magic. This renunciation places the pure image in opposition to corporeal existence, the elements of which the image sublates within itself. It is in the nature of the work of art, of aesthetic illusion, to be what was experienced as a new and terrible event in the magic of primitives: the appearance of the whole in the particular. The work of art constantly reenacts the duplication by which the thing appeared as something spiritual, a manifestation of mana. That constitutes its aura. As an expression of totality art claims the dignity of the absolute. This has occasionally led philosophy to rank it higher than conceptual knowledge.
According to Schelling, art begins where knowledge leaves humans in the lurch. For him art is “the model of science, and wherever art is, there

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