Since its inception in antiquity, synagogue architecture has served Jewish needs for communal prayer and gathering, exhibiting a great diversity of spatial arrangements and ritual venue designs. Scholarly attention to synagogue architecture and art emerged about one and a half centuries ago. Since that time, the object of research has undergone considerable metamorphosis. Numerous synagogues were demolished in wars and social disasters; others were abandoned or ruined over the course of time. During the same period, new synagogues were built, ancient and medieval synagogues were unearthed, and a number of old synagogues were reconstructed or recreated. Synagogue research has evolved from descriptive surveys and quests for typologies to case studies, to interdisciplinary investigations of the semantics and functions of buildings and artwork, and into studies of the processes of the creation, comprehension, and preservation of synagogue architecture and art. Investigations of religious, communal, and personal identities expressed visually have proven more fruitful than the prior scholarly preoccupation with the dilemma: "Does Jewish art/architecture exist?"
This Special Issue offers a global, online, free-access platform for representing current research in the field. We invite historians of art and architecture; historians; archaeologists; and experts in religion, literature, folklore, and anthropology to join the ongoing exchange of ideas on synagogue architecture and art by submitting a paper to be considered for publication.
The Special Issue will include discussion of synagogue architecture and art from all time periods and places. Submissions are encouraged on, but NOT LIMITED TO, the following subjects:
- newly excavated synagogues and synagogue fragments in Israel, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and elsewhere;
- synagogue architecture and art in the Balkans, Scandinavia, North Africa, Asia (including South and East Asia) and the Americas;
- producers and patrons of synagogue architecture and art; architectural theories and artistic concepts regarding synagogues; perceptions of synagogue buildings and decoration;
- symbolic, mystical, liturgical, didactic, ideological and political dimensions of synagogue art and architecture;
- iconophobia, iconoclasm, censorship, and halakhic attitudes to visuality in synagogues;
- real and mental geographies: the Temple, Jerusalem and the Holy Land as symbols, models, subjects, and relics in synagogue architecture and art; the synagogues of exiles and immigrants; synagogues of congregations preserving specific liturgical rites;
- preservation, reconstruction, re-use, and conversion of synagogues.
The Center for Jewish Art provides its copyright materials for the articles in this issue of Arts, free of charge. Please consult the Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art, http://cja.huji.ac.il/browser.php, the largest database on Jewish art and architecture.
To propose a paper for publication, please send a title and short abstract (about 100 words) to the editorial office at <arts et mdpi.com> by 1 December 2018.
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 8 November 2019
For more details, see https://www.mdpi.com/journal/arts/special_issues/synagogue_architecture