The Jewish and Christian Appropriation of Dionysian Iconography at Dura-Europos
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The discovery and excavation of the ancient city of Dura-Europos, located in present-day Syria, provided the world with the earliest extant example of Jewish narrative art and some of the earliest Christian art dating to the mid-third century. The Durene synagogue and Christian baptistery, both covered in scripturally themed frescoes, borrow iconography from the surrounding culture, namely that of the cult of Dionysos, and adopt it for their own cultic use. In this thesis, I examine the purpose of such borrowing, interpret iconographically various frescoes, and draw conclusions concerning the relationship between the synagogue and baptistery.