Jessica van 't Westeinde
Urban Sacred Spaces: Interaction in the Neighbourhoods of Roman Dura-Europos
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Roman Dura Europos' (165 CE-256 CE) urban topography, especially the conglomeration of sacred spaces, is most inviting for a study of cross-cultural and interreligious interaction in the city's neighbourhoods. This article focuses on the Jewish edifice: its location, the remains and finds from the excavations, and the traces left by the people who frequented the place. The wall-paintings in the Jewish edifice as well as in other buildings in this quarter seem to bear evidence of shared aesthetic and cultural values, social interaction, or at least the hiring of the same workshops. The article offers a comparative study of the wall-paintings and inscriptions, trying to discern expressions of self-representation of commissioners and perception of onlookers. The consideration of these paintings and inscriptions within their larger urban context will offer refreshing insights into Jews entangled in a complex composition of a multicultural and multi-religious Dura-Europos.