Mosaic art was the most important feature of Byzantine art for almost a thousand years: comparable with sculpture in Ancient Greece, the painted panel of the Northern Renaissance, or the altarpiece in 16th century Venice. Shimmering in the candlelight and sometimes decorated in gold leaf, these exquisite glass jigsaws were governed by rigid rules as to colour, size and composition, mosaics had two key aims: to beautify the house of the Lord (and overawe the spectator), and to educate illiterate worshippers in the Gospel story. The individual mosaic pieces (tesserae) were often deliberately set unevenly, to create movement of light and colour.
Once Christianity was legally permitted, its need for religious art increased rapidly. New churches were built as centres of worship, using the architectural design of the basic Roman Basilica (used for civic administration and justice). A typical basilica church had a central nave with one or more aisles on either side and a semi-circular/polygonal apse at one end, covered by a semi-dome or sectional vault; the apse became the presbytery and contained a raised platform, upon which sat the bishop, his priests, and also the altar. Baptisteries were also designed and built for various rites, notably baptism followed by annointing-with-oil, as non-baptized people could not enter the Christian Basilica. Most interior decoration of these new religious buildings was done with mosaics, although mural paintings have also been uncovered. The sculptural decoration of sarcophagi became more intricate, often illustrating numerous scenes from the bible. But almost no sculpture in the round was made, for fear of creating pagan-style idols. Relief sculpture was therefore standard, mostly in stone although ivory carving was another popular medium. Overall, the 4th century witnessed more art, the use of richer materials, and the development of precise narrative sequences, as in the mosaics of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome and the later 5th century churches of Ravenna. In addition, during the 5th century, Christian imagery began to accord greater importance to religious significance than to realism. Thus realistic perspective, proportions, colour and light were downgraded in favour of standardized conventions and symbols, when portraying Biblical figures and events. Christian Gifts
^ Flavius Josephus writing (about 5 years later, c. AD 75) in The Jewish War (Book VII 1.1) stated that Jerusalem had been flattened to the point that "there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited."[470] And once what was left of the ruins of Jerusalem had been turned into the Roman settlement of Aelia Capitolina, no Jews were allowed to set foot in it.[469] Share Your Faith Products
And King Solomon sent and brought Hiram from Tyre. He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in bronze. And he was full of wisdom, understanding, and skill for making any work in bronze. He came to King Solomon and did all his work. He cast two pillars of bronze. Eighteen cubits was the height of one pillar, and a line of twelve cubits measured its circumference. It was hollow, and its thickness was four fingers. The second pillar was the same. He also made two capitals of cast bronze to set on the tops of the pillars. The height of the one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other capital was five cubits. There were lattices of checker work with wreaths of chain work for the capitals on the tops of the pillars, a lattice for the one capital and a lattice for the other capital. ... Share Your Faith Products

As Jesus travels towards Jerusalem, in the Perean ministry, he returns to the area where he was baptized, about a third of the way down from the Sea of Galilee along the Jordan River (John 10:40–42).[148][149] The final ministry in Jerusalem begins with Jesus' triumphal entry into the city on Palm Sunday.[150] In the Synoptic Gospels, during that week Jesus drives the money changers from the Second Temple and Judas bargains to betray him. This period culminates in the Last Supper and the Farewell Discourse.[132][150][151]
Jesus chose twelve disciples [336] (the "Twelve"), evidently as an apocalyptic message.[337] All three Synoptics mention the Twelve, although the names on Luke's list vary from those in Mark and Matthew, suggesting that Christians were not certain who all the disciples were.[337] The 12 disciples might have represented the twelve original tribes of Israel, which would be restored once God's rule was instituted.[337] The disciples were reportedly meant to be the rulers of the tribes in the coming Kingdom (Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:30).[337] According to Bart Ehrman, Jesus' promise that the Twelve would rule is historical, because the Twelve included Judas Iscariot. In Ehrman's view, no Christians would have invented a line from Jesus, promising rulership to the disciple who betrayed him.[337] In Mark, the disciples play hardly any role other than a negative one. While others sometimes respond to Jesus with complete faith, his disciples are puzzled and doubtful.[338] They serve as a foil to Jesus and to other characters.[338] The failings of the disciples are probably exaggerated in Mark, and the disciples make a better showing in Matthew and Luke.[338] Share Your Faith Products
^ Ehrman writes: ""In simpler terms, the historical Jesus did not exist. Or if he did, he had virtually nothing to do with the founding of Christianity." further quoting as authoritative the fuller definition provided by Earl Doherty in Jesus: Neither God Nor Man. Age of Reason, 2009, pp. vii–viii: it is "the theory that no historical Jesus worthy of the name existed, that Christianity began with a belief in a spiritual, mythical figure, that the Gospels are essentially allegory and fiction, and that no single identifiable person lay at the root of the Galilean preaching tradition."[380] Scripture Art
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