Jewish texts are a hidden treasure of information on Jewish art and artists, the patronage and use of art, and the art created by non-Jews. Most of these texts are written in Hebrew and Aramaic. Those scholars able to read them do not understand their art historical importance, while many art historians who would understand these references are hindered from access to these texts because of language barriers. Jewish Texts on the Visual Arts includes fifty-one newly translated texts dating from the biblical period to the twentieth century. They touch on issues such as iconoclasm, the art of the 'other', artists and their practices, synagogue architecture, Jewish ceremonial art, and collecting. Through the introduction and essays that accompany each text, Vivian Mann articulates the importance and relevance of these sources to our understanding of art history.
"Mann took on a difficult task and succeeded. Her book is an important addition to any scholarly library." Speculum "Mann [...] has established herself as a principal voice in the study of Jewish art and the art of Judaism." The Journal of the Association of Jewish Studies "This book is a must for all who are interested in religious art and architecture. The texts provide us with a new opportunity to study Jewish art in its relationship to the people for whom it was created as well as its relationship to the art of other faiths...Heretofore such scholarship was hampered by scholars' inability to access primary textual material; this can no longer be used as an excuse, thanks to Vivian B. Mann and her important book." ARTS "This collection of source material is a welcome and useful contribution to the growing literature on Jewish art." Choice "An essential tool for a proper study of Jewish art." Jewish Book World "A valuable guide to Jewish texts on the visual arts, especially respona literature...Leaves the reader wanting to see more!." Religious Studies Review