26 Jan Who is Carrying the Temple Menorah? A Jewish Counter-Narrative of the Arch of Titus Spolia Panel
Steven Fine (History, Yeshiva University)
Monday, January 26 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, HSSB 6020
Since antiquity, scholars have almost universally — and correctly — interpreted the menorah bearers of the Arch of Titus spoils panel as triumphal Romans celebrating the defeat of the Jews in the Jewish War of 66-74. Jews, however, have developed counter-memories for this monument. Since the Renaissance, the menorah bearers have been identified as Jews carrying their holy vessels into Exile. This understanding was embraced by many fin de siècle Zionists, who sought to “reverse” this exile with their own actions. In modern Israel this rather minor detail has achieved apocalyptic significance for the religious radical right. This talk explores the perimeters of Pierre Nora’s work on Lieux de Mémoire to include the changing voice of those whose defeat is commemorated, with implications for viewing similarly active— and radioactive– “places of memory” in our own world.
Steven Fine is the Dr. Pinkhos Churgin Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University and director of the Arch of Titus Digital Restoration Project. Fine’s Art and Judaism in the Greco-Roman World was awarded the Joshua Schnitzer Book Award by the Association for Jewish Studies (2009). His most recent book is Art, History and the Historiography of Judaism in Roman Antiquity.
Sponsored by Ancient Borderlands RFG; the Dept. of Religious Studies; Division of the Humanities and Fine Arts.