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Laura Barber

Much of the work in Christian and Jewish art includes churches or synagogues, meaning that the places themselves don’t necessarily depict “false idols,’ but are instead dedicated to them in service of God. There are many instances where depictions of saints and other beings could be perceived as “false idols.’ For example, the Oratory of Galla Placidia is dedicated to St. Lawrence, and he is depicted on the church walls. Most of the Jewish and Christian churches instead used biblical scenes to decorate the buildings. The Beit Alpha Synagogue portrays Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac, and the Baptistery of Dura-Europas uses symbols of Adam and Eve’s fall from grace to reference the religion’s teachings. Although some of these could be viewed as false idolization, the images are nearly all in reference to God, and thus do not seem to have been made for the purpose of worshiping another.