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"A well-researched and insightful work."—Choice
Case studies explore the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem, whose efforts to use art to create a Jewish nationality in Palestine raise important issues of national identity, and the discovery in 1932 of the third-century Synagogue of Dura Europos, a symbol for scholars struggling against the Third Reich. Among those who supported or challenged concepts of Jewish art, Margaret Olin considers the nineteenth-century rabbinical scholar David Kaufmann, the philosopher Martin Buber, the critic Clement Greenberg, and the filmmaker Chantal Akerman. Olin's work broadens our understanding of the relation of Jews to the visual image, critiques the nationalist, ethnocentric paradigms of current disciplines, and offers insight into the tenacious art historical discourses that thinkers must inhabit uncomfortably or escape with considerable difficulty.
Margaret Olin is a professor of art history and theory at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the author of Forms of Representation in Alois Riegl's Theory of Art.
"The discussion of Buber's art historical training is a stunning and persuasive piece of archival-based scholarship, profoundly transforming our understanding of Buber's aesthetically inspired, influential version of dialogical existentialism. . . . Provocative, compelling, and indispensable."—Kalman P. Bland, Religious Studies Review