Some English Examples of the Mediaeval Representation of Church and Synagogue

MANY will probably remember seeing reproductions of the sculptured figures of Church and Synagogue on the south door of Strasburg Cathedral, and two reflections in particular will come to their minds. One, as expressed by Israel Abrahams2, that “The artists were true to their craft, for though the theological motive was to do dishonour to the Synagogue, yet they added to the aesthetic value of their work by invariably depicting the Synagogue as a beautiful woman, slender, graceful, infinitely pathetic.” The other is that motive itself, to dishonour the Synagogue, the keynote of ecclesiastical policy in the Middle Ages towards the Jews, a note which can be distinguished amidst the glorious harmonies of Gothic art in Western Europe. For the theme is not a passing idiosyncrasy of the Strasburg craftsmen, or rather of their patrons. It was prevalent in Western Europe for many centuries, and that not by accident, for

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