Mosaics of Faith
Floors of Pagans, Jews, Samaritans, Christians, and Muslims in the Holy Land
By (author) Rina Talgam
Publication date:29 July 2014
Length of book:600 pages
PublisherPenn State University Press
This monumental work provides a comprehensive analytical history of the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Umayyad, and Early Abbasid mosaics in the Holy Land, spanning the second century b.c.e. to the eighth century c.e. Previous general studies of the Holy Land mosaics have focused on specific collections; in Mosaics of Faith, Rina Talgam sets out to demonstrate how mosaic art constructed cultural, religious, and ethnic identities in eras that shaped the visual expressions of three monotheistic religions. Her examination of the mosaics in a pivotal area of the eastern Mediterranean sharpens and refines our understanding of the region’s societies and their ideologies, institutions, and liturgies. Covering almost one thousand years of mosaic production, Mosaics of Faith offers an unprecedented view of the evolution of floor decorations from the Hellenistic to the Roman periods, in the transition from Roman to Early Byzantine art, and in the persistence of Byzantine traditions under Umayyad rule. More than other corpora of ancient mosaics, those from the Holy Land have generated greater awareness of the intricate visual exchanges between paganism, Judaism, Samaritanism, Christianity, and Islam. Talgam examines the mosaics’ formal qualities in conjunction with the religious and cultural contexts within which they were produced and with which they had a profound, multidimensional dialogue.