The Menorah: Cult, History, and Myth Exhibiting the Past and Future of Catholic-Jewish Relations.
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La Menorà: Culto, Storia E Mito, The Menorah: Worship, History and Myth was a monumental exhibition mounted by the Vatican Museums and the Jewish Museum of Rome in the Spring of 2017. Bringing together many of the most important artifacts relating to the history of the biblical lampstand in both Jewish and Christian traditions, this exhibition marks a milestone in Jewish-Catholic engagement, and was an active agent in that process. This article presents this act of museological diplomacy, describing many of its most significant artifacts as well as the historiographic challenges presented by this exhibition.______ The large banner announcing La menorà: culto, storia e mito (Menorah: Worship, Memory, and Myth) on St. Peter’s Square was striking (fig. 1).1 Hanging to the left of the basilica, above Bernini’s Braccio di Carlo Magno (Charlemagne), it showed a detail of the Arch of Titus relief of the Spoils of Jerusalem—Roman soldiers bearing the biblical lampstand into the Eternal City—in this case, into the depths of the Holy See. The menorah itself was golden, in contrast to the deep grays of the bearers as illustrated on the banner. This gold, known from the biblical text itself, reflects the discovery of the original yellow ochre pigment of the menorah by my Arch of Titus Project in 2012.
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