Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ezekiel's Merkavah anniversary is today

TODAY IS THE 5TH OF TAMUZ, the anniversary of Ezekiels Merkavah vision as described in Ezekiel chapter 1. This was Ezekiel's prophetic call. This chapter also is the central inspiration for later Jewish and Christian mysticism. I have commented more about Ma‘aseh Merkavah ("the working of the Chariot," the traditional name of the chapter) and its influence in last year's post here.

I've been saving up a treat for you for this year's post. The Visual Midrash from the Tali Education Fund website has an article by Jo Milgrom and Yoel Duman on Ezekiel the Prophet: Dura Europos and beyond . It has a detailed discussion of the two scenes about Ezekiel in the murals that came from the third-century CE synagogue from Dura-Europos in Syria. It includes some later iconographic context.

The scenes do not have to do with the Merkavah vision, but they involve suitably visionary themes. The first is of the national resurrection in the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37. The second is of angelic slaughter of the sinful inhabitants of Jerusalem in the vision of Ezekiel 9. The latter takes place just before Ezekiel's second Merkavah vision in chapter 10.

Happy anniversary, Ezekiel!

For the many past PaleoJudaica posts on Dura-Europos, start here and follow the many links.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.