Mountains, valleys, and stones
DOI link for Mountains, valleys, and stones
Mountains, valleys, and stones book
This chapter discusses an anonymous North African writer of the third century, who thought of Judaism and Christianity as two mountains on a landscape, each signifying a set of propositions and values. Sinai is Judaism, "earthly" and characterized by a hatefulness on the part of the people. Sinai and Zion are still there, perhaps shifted to the center so that they constitute a kind of omphalus of human religious experience. The legacy of the ancient militancy is a balkanization of religious identity, both ancient and modern, and the inscription upon the religious landscape of boundaries we still police and respect, whether we know it, or like it, or not. That the image on Germanos' gravestone has been explained as a palm branch, and not recognized as a menorah, is indicative of broader trends in the study of ancient Judaism and Christianity, and indeed in the study of "religion" generally.