400 – 1300
Medieval Era

Historiated Capitals, Church of Sant Miquel, Camarasa (Noguera)


Historiated capitals from the crossing of the Church of Sant Miquel of the castle of Camarasa (Noguera), early 13th century, stone, 77 x 1.65 x 77.5 cm (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Palau Nacional, Barcelona).

We use the word "prefiguration" in the video, referring to the Christian tradition of typology, the interpretion Old Testiment stories as foretelling those in the New. In this case, the story of Abraham and Isaac is used to anticipate God's willingness to sacrifice his son Jesus Christ for mankind's salvation.

Genesis 22:1-24 (New International Version - UK)

1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, Abraham! Here I am, he replied.
2 Then God said, Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.
4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.
5 He said to his servants, Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,
7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, Father? Yes, my son? Abraham replied. The fire and wood are here, Isaac said, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?
8 Abraham answered, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son. And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, Abraham! Abraham! Here I am, he replied.
12 Do not lay a hand on the boy, he said. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

 

Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker

 

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