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Molinari
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« on: February 25, 2014, 12:03:38 pm »

I found this today and thought I would post it.  It is from Alessandro Scafi's Maps of Paradise (Chicago:UP, 2013).

The paradise narrative in Genesis, from The Bedford Hours, France, Paris, c. 1423.  London, British Library, Add. Ms 18150, fol.14r.

What interested me is some deity appears with a Janiform head!  

Thoughts?

Nick
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Molinari
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2014, 12:08:28 pm »

Or is that supposed to be the devil?  The text doesn't say!
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2014, 01:12:13 pm »

I don't think it's the devil but rather God. In all scenes of this Genesis painting the janiforme figure plays the role of God. The symbol behind this depiction can be, that he is seeing past and future, i.e. he is seeing all.

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Taras
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 02:16:33 pm »

For ancients Janus was "Qui cuncta fingit eademque regit" (Macrobius, Saturnalia I.IX.14), "The one who shapes and governs everything".
The Christian theologians therefore argued that Janus was a pagan "foreshadowing" of God.
I attach the drawing of a miniature scroll painting from a manuscript of the XV c., found in Luchon, the drawing was published on 1925 by L. Charbonneau-Lassay on his work "Un ancien emblème du mois de Janvier". You can see the depiction of Janus, and above the christian symbols (the monogram IHS surmounted by a heart).
Janiform christian God as the beginning and the end of everything.

Bye Smiley
Nico
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Molinari
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2014, 02:54:30 pm »

Very interesting.  You are both right, of course. It must be God.  I was confused by the top left picture, which makes it look like he has red devil wings, and also the picture in which he seems to be pushing Eve toward the fruit.

 
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 03:23:12 pm »

With a possibly of God having two faces one for good and the other for punishment .
The idea of the fair dictator is older than Gilgamesh.

A very rich subject thank you for sharing Nick.

Sam
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Sam Mansourati
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 03:30:55 pm »

Hi folks,

Wow!!! Interesting thread.

Yes, it probably is God. But I can't help but wonder...

As some of you already know, I've been helping my niece with her homework for the past few years. She is taking a history/humanities course this semester. Just this past week, she had to read some of Dante's works ("Inferno", etc.) and write an essay about it. Since she asked me for advice and some help, I read it too. It was the first time I had ever read any of his works. Back in the 1980s, my high school Italian language teacher (a Roman Catholic priest of Italian/Neapolitan descent) always talked about Dante and his works. He loved Dante. Now that I've finally read some of his works, I see what he meant. I loved it too. Dante's descriptions of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory are fascinating and descriptive in a sick and eerie kind of way.

Anyway, he describes Satan as having 3 heads, one red, one yellow, and one not described. He also has 6 eyes and 3 mouths, which he uses to eat sinners.

I'm not saying that the figure in that painting is Satan. It probably is God. But I thought of all of this in light of just recently reading Dante's "Inferno" a few days ago.

And there is another interesting piece of information with regard to Medieval interpretation of Janus. The city of Genoa, Italy was founded during the Dark Ages. It really flourished and came into its own during the Middle Ages and Renaissance period. Genoa was originally called (in Latin) "Ianva", which translates into "Janua" (in English). Of course, this is a variation of "Janus". The city of Genoa was named after the Roman god Janus. And this was done during a Christian period in Genoa's history. So, apparently, Christians in Italy continued to worship Janus during the Middle Ages.

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Taras
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 04:14:10 pm »

We all continue to worship JANUs, every time we pop a bottle at the first minute of the first day of JANUary... the end and the beginning.
Wink
bye
Nico
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JBF
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 07:08:41 pm »

I think if you look at the pictures of God in the ms, you will see that there must be on the head room for three faces (because of the way the two faces we see are facing out, at angles to each other), or maybe two faces and the flame.  In other words, maybe, it is depicting triune nature of God; father, son, holy ghost.

Please understand that I'm just going off of the picture that Molinari presented.  There may be other janiform pictures of Jehovah, but I kind of suspect that this one is three way, two faces and a flame.

Now Adam and Eve might have been one united being until god separated Eve from Adam's side.  Reminds me of Plato's Symposium where Aristophanes told the tale that the gods thought that man was too powerful, separated the two halves (turned around arms and the legs), so that each person would be distracted looking for his/her other half.
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2014, 02:17:47 pm »

There's an image of the janiform deity pulling Eve out of Adam's side, so he has to be God. I haven't come across this sort of iconography before; more information about the context would be useful!
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2014, 03:34:47 pm »

There's an image of the janiform deity pulling Eve out of Adam's side, so he has to be God. I haven't come across this sort of iconography before; more information about the context would be useful!

I'll skip ahead to that chapter on Monday.  From first glance he doesnt say much about it, but I'll look further.  Perhaps the collection that houses it has a write up?
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2014, 05:02:00 pm »

It is God, but it is not quite a janiform figure.  Look at the top right hand God figure, where Adam is naming all the animals.  The faces are not directly opposite each other.  They are right next to each other, and from the angle of them, there should be space for another face, but instead you have the 'butane torch' shooting up, which is the Holy Spirit.  It is the trinity depicted in one individual, the triune (three in one) God.  Father, Son, Holy Ghost or, if you are irreverent, Papa, Junior and Casper.
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Molinari
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2014, 05:05:18 pm »

It is God, but it is not quite a janiform figure.  Look at the top right hand God figure, where Adam is naming all the animals.  The faces are not directly opposite each other.  They are right next to each other, and from the angle of them, there should be space for another face, but instead you have the 'butane torch' shooting up, which is the Holy Spirit.  It is the trinity depicted in one individual, the triune (three in one) God.  Father, Son, Holy Ghost or, if you are irreverent, Papa, Junior and Casper.

I think you are right, John.
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Taras
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2014, 06:30:27 pm »

I agree with John on the fact that it is a depiction of the holy trinity. But I also think that a janiform figure was used to depict the father and the son (adding the flame on top for the holy spirit).
The image I posted on reply #3 is drawn from a christian scroll in which was shown a calendar, and the figure was used for January. The link between Janus and the Christian God is attested by specific studies, it is not simply my speculation. Here a sample: http://books.google.it/books/about/Dal_mondo_antico_al_cristianesimo_sulle.html?id=xlVRH9Mw54EC&redir_esc=y

bye Smiley
Nico
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JBF
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2014, 07:19:00 am »

Yes Nico, I was _just_ commenting on the initial image and even then, as long as one recognizes the triune aspect to it, I think it would be okay to call a janiform image.  Before now, I was not familiar with the use of a janiform to depict God, but the picture you attached in 3, with the beardless Jesus holding the keys to the kingdom, and the bearded Father with a thunderbolt(?!?) definitely shows one.

But it does not surprise me (tickles my fancy yes, surprise no).  A janiform figure of God would be very much like the various other "appropriations" of pagan culture made by Christianity.  For example, did you know that the Sibyl (not sure which one(s)) was a Christian because she saw the coming of Christ?  How about Heraclitus, Socrates and Plato?  For each of those "knew" the logos.  I would be curious about whether such depictions were mainly or exclusively in the Latin West, or if the also happened in the Greek East.  If they ever were in the East, the iconoclastic movement may have destroyed them.
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Taras
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« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2014, 12:59:11 pm »

the picture you attached in 3, with the beardless Jesus holding the keys to the kingdom, and the bearded Father with a thunderbolt(?!?) definitely shows one.

It is a sceptre.


But it does not surprise me (tickles my fancy yes, surprise no).  A janiform figure of God would be very much like the various other "appropriations" of pagan culture made by Christianity.  For example, did you know that the Sibyl (not sure which one(s)) was a Christian because she saw the coming of Christ?  How about Heraclitus, Socrates and Plato?  For each of those "knew" the logos.

Dear friend, the issue is very intriguing, and also very complex.
On the one hand there is the understandable "forcing" of assimilations made by many theologians of early Christianity, to make "digestible" their new religion to those who were accustomed to pagan deities, related rituals and pre-christian philosophies. At the other hand there is the fact that all those divine folks (Janus, Christ, Apollo, Attis, Kybele etc) are not real individuals with an "identity", they are symbols.
I already discussed this issue with Molinari, Crispina and Enodia by PMs.
I paste here my thoughts from those PMs, I will have to rewrite them to include into the text of Potamikon.
I was referring to the matter Achelous/local river deity, but the concept is applicable to any syncretic dyad:Janus/Christ; Apollo/Christ; Isis/Kybele; Kybele/Virgin Mary; etc.. (the same for other cultures, try to make a research for the Mayan god Chac and the cult of christian St. John in Mexico, when I travelled to Chiapas I saw very interesting things among the natives!).

Quote
"... it is a symbol, an image, a sign. So we can apply to the issue the concepts of assimilation and polysemy. The same image can be interpreted as a signifier with different meanings, such as concentric sets of meaning, more and more assimilated, and symmetrized. From the most undifferentiated level (manfaced bull) up to successive deeper sets, increasingly assimilated and symmetrized: Achelous, River deity, Euthymos, Dionysus, Pan, etc., different deities for which you officiated the same ritual, on the same altar, asking the same miracles.
The image of the deity as symbol having a multi-faceted nature, a multi-faceted role that the myth and the needs of the believer fit to the image, intertwined with local religious and cultural specificities.
To explain myself, I try to make some examples:

A) Look at the first attached image. Who's that guy? What can we say about his identity? During the fourth century AD a roman pagan citizen undoubtedly would have said that he is Apollo. The same image for a roman christian guy would have undoubtedly represented Christ. A single picture, multiple meanings ... polysemy and assimilation. The shape of the God of the Sun, used to give signification to multiple sets of meanings.
Note: the image on the left is from an early christian church, the one at right from a roman mosaic.

B) Second attached pic... who's that girl? An ancient inhabitant of Anatolia would answer me: "Kubeleia, of course!", an egyptian: "Isis, of course!", a north etrurian: "Vacuna, of course!", a south etrurian: "Matres Matuta, of course!", a roman: "Kybele, of course!", a christian "the virgin Mary, of course!".
Where is the truth? Which is the identity?
The shape of the Great Mother, used to give signification to multiple sets of assimilated and symmetrized meanings.
This I mean for multi-faceted role of the symbol, that the myth and the needs of the believer fit to the image, intertwined with local religious and cultural specificities.
Note: the image at the right is by Donatello, la Madonna di Padova, I think the most beautiful existing statue of virgin Mary.

Probably the same way as an inhabitant of the ancient Gela devoted to Achelous would have recognize Achelous looking at the MFB, another devoted to the local river would have recognized Gelas, another devoted to Dionysus etc. etc.


Regards Smiley
Nico
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Molinari
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« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2014, 01:10:20 pm »

the picture you attached in 3, with the beardless Jesus holding the keys to the kingdom, and the bearded Father with a thunderbolt(?!?) definitely shows one.

It is a sceptre.


But it does not surprise me (tickles my fancy yes, surprise no).  A janiform figure of God would be very much like the various other "appropriations" of pagan culture made by Christianity.  For example, did you know that the Sibyl (not sure which one(s)) was a Christian because she saw the coming of Christ?  How about Heraclitus, Socrates and Plato?  For each of those "knew" the logos.

Dear friend, the issue is very intriguing, and also very complex.
On the one hand there is the understandable "forcing" of assimilations made by many theologians of early Christianity, to make "digestible" their new religion to those who were accustomed to pagan deities, related rituals and pre-christian philosophies. At the other hand there is the fact that all those divine folks (Janus, Christ, Apollo, Attis, Kybele etc) are not real individuals with an "identity", they are symbols.
I already discussed this issue with Molinari, Crispina and Enodia by PMs.
I paste here my thoughts from those PMs, I will have to rewrite them to include into the text of Potamikon.
I was referring to the matter Achelous/local river deity, but the concept is applicable to any syncretic dyad:Janus/Christ; Apollo/Christ; Isis/Kybele; Kybele/Virgin Mary; etc.. (the same for other cultures, try to make a research for the Mayan god Chac and the cult of christian St. John in Mexico, when I travelled to Chiapas I saw very interesting things among the natives!).

Quote
"... it is a symbol, an image, a sign. So we can apply to the issue the concepts of assimilation and polysemy. The same image can be interpreted as a signifier with different meanings, such as concentric sets of meaning, more and more assimilated, and symmetrized. From the most undifferentiated level (manfaced bull) up to successive deeper sets, increasingly assimilated and symmetrized: Achelous, River deity, Euthymos, Dionysus, Pan, etc., different deities for which you officiated the same ritual, on the same altar, asking the same miracles.
The image of the deity as symbol having a multi-faceted nature, a multi-faceted role that the myth and the needs of the believer fit to the image, intertwined with local religious and cultural specificities.
To explain myself, I try to make some examples:

A) Look at the first attached image. Who's that guy? What can we say about his identity? During the fourth century AD a roman pagan citizen undoubtedly would have said that he is Apollo. The same image for a roman christian guy would have undoubtedly represented Christ. A single picture, multiple meanings ... polysemy and assimilation. The shape of the God of the Sun, used to give signification to multiple sets of meanings.
Note: the image on the left is from an early christian church, the one at right from a roman mosaic.

B) Second attached pic... who's that girl? An ancient inhabitant of Anatolia would answer me: "Kubeleia, of course!", an egyptian: "Isis, of course!", a north etrurian: "Vacuna, of course!", a south etrurian: "Matres Matuta, of course!", a roman: "Kybele, of course!", a christian "the virgin Mary, of course!".
Where is the truth? Which is the identity?
The shape of the Great Mother, used to give signification to multiple sets of assimilated and symmetrized meanings.
This I mean for multi-faceted role of the symbol, that the myth and the needs of the believer fit to the image, intertwined with local religious and cultural specificities.
Note: the image at the right is by Donatello, la Madonna di Padova, I think the most beautiful existing statue of virgin Mary.

Probably the same way as an inhabitant of the ancient Gela devoted to Achelous would have recognize Achelous looking at the MFB, another devoted to the local river would have recognized Gelas, another devoted to Dionysus etc. etc.


Regards Smiley
Nico

It is surprising to me how Isler can still maintain, after all these years, that all bearded man-faced bulls are always Achelous.  Perhaps we will finally change his mind Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2014, 06:54:03 pm »

The process of assimilation makes for bizarre marriages.  However, I suspect that very rarely are they forced.  Many of them probably seemed like a good idea at the time.  And if they are anything like Hollywood movie marriages, there were probably all kinds of silly antics used in an attempt to get the in-laws to buy into the whole thing.

agreed, sceptre.  (I need to figure out how to turn off the autocorrect one of these days, instead of always doing it by hand).

Nick, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  I am not sure that that is the case with this Isler chap you mention, but it is true of many other things.
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Taras
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2014, 04:42:40 am »

Maybe we could adapt that proverb for this board to: "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a reverse die."
 Grin
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Molinari
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« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2014, 07:15:19 am »

There's an image of the janiform deity pulling Eve out of Adam's side, so he has to be God. I haven't come across this sort of iconography before; more information about the context would be useful!

Here is the paragraph that mentions the picture (Fig. 23).  Nothing is said about the iconography:

Augustine's rejection of dualism and deep sense of history, his insistence on the transcendent importance of Scripture and his combination of the literal and the allegorical approaches created the conditions for understanding the Garden of Eden as a specific place (Fig. 23). Augustine was not himself particularly interested in geographical matters, but his theological concerns and his emphasis on history produced the geographical assumptions about the location of Eden that preoccupied theologians and mapmakers for centuries afterwards. (A. Scafi, The Maps of Paradise, pg. 44)
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