The Image and the Book is a richly documented and provocative collection of studies and essays dealing with the historical background of biblical ban on religious images. It describes the role and theology of the divine image in the civilizations surrounding Israel, and shows that there has been long-standing worship of images in Israel. Though the Bible intimates that Israelite religion was aniconic from the very beginning, the archaeological evidence and the dispassionate analysis of the available texts shows otherwise. The iconographical remains yield a fascinating view of the development and varieties in the cult of religious images. The iconoclasm of influential currents in the late Israelite and early Judaic religion went in tandem with the promotion of the Book of the Law as a substitute of the image. In the case of the Bible, the rise of book religion must be seen in conjunction with the battle against images.
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