Elijah Restores the Widow’s Child

Elijah Restores the Widow’s Child, third century C.E. Detail of a wall painting from the Dura Europos synagogue (Syria).

Paintings from the synagogue in Dura Europos, a city on the Euphrates River in Syria, represent the earliest continuous narrative cycle of biblical images ever discovered. The synagogue was built between 244 and 245 C.E. and destroyed in 256 C.E. when the Sassanids (Neo-Persians) sacked the city. French–American excavations of the site in the 1920s marked a new beginning in the study of Jewish art. The continuous action of the painting, looking from left to right, shows the widow, dressed in mourning black, giving Elijah her dead son. In the center, Elijah revives the boy, with God’s outstretched hand appearing in the upper right. On the right, the widow appears again in colorful garments, holding her living son.

Elijah Restores the Widow’s Child

Together with the Tigris, the Euphrates is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia.

The religion and culture of Jews. It emerged as the descendant of ancient Israelite Religion, and is characterized by monotheism and an adherence to the laws present in the Written Torah (the Bible) and the Oral Torah (Talmudic/Rabbinic tradition).

A written, spoken, or recorded story.

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