Dura-Europos domus ecclesiae? Archaeology, Iconography & MSS

Oct 2011
7,654
MARE PACIFICVM
#11
That's not true. I am not going to quote the entire article. Neither am I obliged to summarise it for you.



The Jewish synagogue at Dura Europos is a separate building.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dura-Europos_synagogue

The David and Goliath mural is found in the purported "Christian house-church"



They had David and Goliath made explicit on their wall. They therefore must have known the story or "a story" of David and Goliath. Whether they were Christians or not is another thing.




Which IMO contributes towards the likelihood that this is a Jewish dwelling rather than a Christian dwelling, especially if its the only pre-4th century Christian dwelling ever actually discovered.



The mural was somehow transported in a packing crate from Dura to Yale, and what do we know of the restoration process? It is issues such as this that IMO reduce the likelihood of drawing any firm conclusions about whether this structure was occupied by Christians, or whether was occupied by another religious group (for example a Jewish).





But isn't reliance of this literary parable a presumption?



Because it was related to healing, perhaps by a good local physician?




The point is that they may also be associated with stories from other sources. There is nothing made explicit, except for David and Goliath.

Yale Divinity College has assumed these murals are associated with NT parables, but this assumption may not be justified IMO with any degree of certainty. Artistic appreciation is notoriously subjective.

Here's a question... If this is the only pre-4th century Christian house-church that has been identified, then what makes it special?

There must be many examples of Jewish places of worship from the pre-4th century, and this is the only one among them which has been identified as Christian.

Even if alternative explanations could be presented for each individual image, is there any viable explanation which unites them as effectively as Christianity?
 
Sep 2015
315
ireland
#12
That's not true. I am not going to quote the entire article. Neither am I obliged to summarise it for you.
Fair enough, but the point I`m making is that it`s easy to cherry-pick short quotes so that they don`t properly convey the sentiment of the overall narrative.


The Jewish synagogue at Dura Europos is a separate building.
The David and Goliath mural is found in the purported "Christian house-church"
I know that.

They had David and Goliath made explicit on their wall. They therefore must have known the story or "a story" of David and Goliath.
If they were non-Judaic Christians, they may not have known the story of D and G, or at least not known it well enough to recognise the meaning of the mural without having it spelled out for them...literally.


Which IMO contributes towards the likelihood that this is a Jewish dwelling rather than a Christian dwelling, especially if its the only pre-4th century Christian dwelling ever actually discovered.
IMO it may mean it isn`t a Jewish building, and if it is, it is Judaic-Christian. As far as I`m aware, there are no literal explanations or names on the murals in the synagogue.


But isn't reliance of this literary parable a presumption?
Isn`t everything a presumption? Here again, we are in balance of probability territory.

Because it was related to healing, perhaps by a good local physician?
Don`t see it.


Yale Divinity College has assumed these murals are associated with NT parables, but this assumption may not be justified IMO with any degree of certainty.
That`s easily said if you try to interpret them independently of each other. But take them as a whole and what is the alternative explanation?
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#13
Here's a question... If this is the only pre-4th century Christian house-church that has been identified, then what makes it special?

There must be many examples of Jewish places of worship from the pre-4th century, and this is the only one among them which has been identified as Christian.

Even if alternative explanations could be presented for each individual image, is there any viable explanation which unites them as effectively as Christianity?
Not necessarily. Dating can be difficult, and if the place is in continued use, later modifications and additions can erase earlier evidence.

What makes this site special is that it represents a known snapshot in time, we know when the destruction occurred of the city, and thus can establish a no later than date.
 
May 2011
2,793
Rural Australia
#14
Here's a question... If this is the only pre-4th century Christian house-church that has been identified, then what makes it special?
It would represent the only known "Christian Church" or "Christian Church-House" or "Christian House-Church". It is special because it appears to be the lone exemplar of a pre-4th century Christian structure.

There must be many examples of Jewish places of worship from the pre-4th century, and this is the only one among them which has been identified as Christian.
It is the only place of worship (dated prior to the 4th century) that has been identified as Christian.

Even if alternative explanations could be presented for each individual image, is there any viable explanation which unites them as effectively as Christianity?
I have proposed that a more viable explanation is that the images may in fact be all Jewish, and that it is therefore just as likely, if not more likely, that the dwelling at Dura - currently presumed to be inhabited by Christians followers - was inhabited by Jewish followers. This is supported by the separate Jewish synagogue also discovered in the city.
 

Jax

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
6,208
Seattle
#15
I have proposed that a more viable explanation is that the images may in fact be all Jewish, and that it is therefore just as likely, if not more likely, that the dwelling at Dura - currently presumed to be inhabited by Christians followers - was inhabited by Jewish followers.
How exactly do you propose to prove that?
 
May 2011
2,793
Rural Australia
#16
If they were non-Judaic Christians, they may not have known the story of D and G, or at least not known it well enough to recognise the meaning of the mural without having it spelled out for them...literally.
Christians, in addition to the Greek New Testament, supposedly also preserved the Greek LXX (actually a "Christianised version of the Greek LXX) so it should be expected that they were aware of the story of D&G.

Isn`t everything a presumption? Here again, we are in balance of probability territory.
Yes I agree.

That`s easily said if you try to interpret them independently of each other. But take them as a whole and what is the alternative explanation?
I have suggested that an alternative explanation for the entire set of murals is that the occupants were Jewish.
 
May 2011
2,793
Rural Australia
#17
RE: Jewish murals (rather than "Christian" murals)

How exactly do you propose to prove that?
By the same method that Yale Divinity college c.1930's proposed to prove that the murals were Christian. Namely to question the proposal that any of these murals necessarily have NT motifs, and to propose that they might all have motifs taken from the LXX.

I don't think either proposal can be "proved" with any degree of certainty, because at the end of the day we are dealing with the extremely subjective assessment of artistic motifs. The only certainly known artistic motif is the David and Goliath mural, because its caption is specific. The rest of the murals don't have any such guarantees attached.
 

Jax

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
6,208
Seattle
#18
RE: Jewish murals (rather than "Christian" murals)



By the same method that Yale Divinity college c.1930's proposed to prove that the murals were Christian. Namely to question the proposal that any of these murals necessarily have NT motifs, and to propose that they might all have motifs taken from the LXX.

I don't think either proposal can be "proved" with any degree of certainty, because at the end of the day we are dealing with the extremely subjective assessment of artistic motifs. The only certainly known artistic motif is the David and Goliath mural, because its caption is specific. The rest of the murals don't have any such guarantees attached.
OK. Links to articles that argue for and against this proposition, in their fullness, will now be necessary.

Please.
 
May 2011
2,793
Rural Australia
#19
OK. Links to articles that argue for and against this proposition, in their fullness, will now be necessary.

Please.
To the best of my knowledge there are indeed no articles which argue against the proposition put forward by Yale Divinity College - that a Christian "house-church" has been discovered c.1930's at Dura Europos. There are certainly more recent articles which provide alternative Christian explanations for the murals, such as this:

http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1kft8j0
The World's Oldest Church: Bible, Art, and Ritual at Dura-Europos, Syria
Michael Peppard

Published by: Yale University Press



Also available via a youtube lecture:
(.... youtube.com/watch?v=hNiJ42pX5vY )


This state of affairs however does not deter me from making a case against this proposition, which is the purpose of this discussion. I have outlined the basics above. The proposition being questioned here appears to rely on the likelihood that at least two of these murals (Healing Paralytic; Walking on water - images posted above) were inspired by the New Testament literature.
 
Last edited:

Similar History Discussions