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Art of Faith: Judaism

Year: 2008, 55 mins
Code: ILL-FaithJud
ISBN: 718122566075

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Art of Faith is a sumptuous high-definition visual experience exploring the architecture and art of the world's religions, presented and narrated by the broadcaster John McCarthy. The films travel the world visiting the greatest and most significant religious buildings, exploring how the passions and complexities of religious beliefs have been expressed in architecture.

Looking back over the last 3000 years, the series provides an insight into how we have celebrated art through faith. With contributions from architects, scholars and worshippers, the films explain the buildings’ genesis, laying down the brush strokes of the sites’ design, whilst looking at the shared elements and contrasts between religions and the aesthetics of the places of worship.

Judaism visits one of the earliest synagogues on the mountain fort of Masada, the Gothic Old-New Synagogue in Prague and nineteenth-century houses of worship in Budapest, Liverpool and New York, as well as Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Beth Sholom, near Philadelphia.

The origins of the synagogue – the Greek word for the Jewish house of prayer – are obscure, yet seemingly ancient. In the New Testament, the apostle James says, “Moses has never lacked spokesmen in every town for generations past; he is read in the synagogues Sabbath by Sabbath.” But the earliest identifiable synagogue buildings date only from around 70 CE, when the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

In the centuries since Jews have built synagogues – shuls in Yiddish – right across the Old World and the New, almost always employing variations of a singular layout but displaying an extraordinary eclecticism in decoration and detail.

Who were the people who created these extraordinary buildings? Who offered their prayers and who read and studied the Torah in them? And who are the Jews who follow in those traditions today? Judaism explores synagogues in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Spain, the US, and the UK..

Other titles in this series:
Religions of the Tao

John Patrick McCarthy CBE is a British journalist, writer and broadcaster, and one of the hostages in the Lebanon hostage crisis. McCarthy was the United Kingdom's longest-held hostage in Lebanon, where he was a prisoner for more than five years.

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