Making a Space for God

How the 14th-century creators of an illustrated Pentateuch managed to reflect both the Jewish and the Christian worlds they lived in.

June 4, 2019 | Marc Michael Epstein
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).

From the title page of the Duke of Sussex German Pentateuch, ca. 1300. British Library.

Every year, the Torah portion of B’midbar (“In the Desert”)—the first reading in the biblical book known in English as Numbers—coincides roughly with the festival of Shavuot (“Weeks”), celebrated this year on next Sunday and (in the diaspora) Monday, and traditionally referred to as “the time of the giving of our Torah.”

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 Already a subscriber? Sign in now