Solving the Mystery of the Brick and the Book

A professor of Jewish art finds himself turning from one explanation of a puzzling drawing found in an old manuscript to another—and then possibly back again.

From the Barcelona Haggadah, Catalonia, c. 1340. British Library.

From the Barcelona Haggadah, Catalonia, c. 1340. British Library.

Observation
Oct. 12 2021
About the author

Marc Michael Epstein is professor of religion and visual culture and director of Jewish studies at Vassar College. He is the author of, among other books, The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative, and Religious Imagination (2011) and Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts (2015).

Turn it over, and [again] turn it over, for all is therein. And look into it; And become gray and old therein;  And do not move away from it, for you have no better portion than it. —Mishnah Avot 5:22

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

More about: Arts & Culture, History & Ideas, Jewish art