The Exegetical Jerusalem: Maps and Plans for Ezekiel Chapters 40–48

Catherine Delano-Smith

in Imagining Jerusalem in the Medieval West

Published by British Academy

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780197265048
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754159 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Exegetical Jerusalem: Maps and Plans for Ezekiel Chapters 40–48

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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Drawing for explanation flourished in the medieval West in biblical exegesis. Some Christian and Jewish scholars, holding that the literal meaning of the holy scriptures had to be established before the allegorical and typological meanings could be reached, made good use of visual exegesis. Of the few Christian scholars who attempted a literal interpretation of the notoriously difficult Old Testament book of the prophet Ezekiel, one was Richard of St Victor (In visionem Ezechielis, before 1173) and another was Nicholas of Lyra (Postilla literalis super totam Bibliam,1323–32), who had read Richard's work and also, like him, seen the Jewish scholar Rashi's illustrations for Ezekiel. Both Richard and Nicholas supported their arguments with the plans of Ezekiel's visionary temple and the map that places the temple in its regional context discussed in this essay. Also discussed is the subsequent adaptation of these medieval diagrammatic maps for a quite different readership.

Keywords: visual exegesis; drawing for explanation; diagrammatic maps; Richard of St Victor; Nicholas of Lyra; In visionem Ezechielis; Postilla literalis; Book of Ezekiel; Rashi

Chapter.  15188 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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