When it comes to art and aesthetics, Judaism, and Aesthetics in Judaism has often been ignored in Turkish Art literature. Judaism is one and oldest of the three big religions and therefore is related to Christianity and Islam. This paper is based on a literature review in relation to aesthetics, philosophy, fine arts, religion and cultural perspectives; and it contributes to body of literature especially in Turkey by means of discussing an often unknown topic, Aesthetics in Judaism.
When it comes to art in Judaism, the question often remains, “Is there such a concept as Judaic Art?”. Certain stylistic characteristics, cultural perspectives and understanding, worldview, and religious view may define certain cultures’ art; and it also describes aesthetical canon, taste and understanding within these perspectives. In art historical tradition and approaches, Judaic art often has not been seen as a cultural definition, identity or a definition (Silver & Baskind, 2011). The reasons for this traditional view are explained in this paper. Rather than defining Judaic Art, if it exists; in this paper, the view of Judaism within meaning of life, art, especially fine arts are explained through Judaic perspectives and religious canon.
Essence of faith in Judaism is based on “One and only creator of universes”. The rules of normative Judaism (halachah) give rules and views for not only Jews but also for all human beings about life and also aesthetics. Kant and Hegel described Jews as a community of oral tradition that preferred abstract expressions and monotheism over materialism and possible idolatry of art objects and artifacts (Silver & Baskind, 2011). Likewise, Solomon (1901) mentioned that great leaders of Jews had been against artistic representations of natural forms, humans and living souls. Rules of prohibition about representations in Judaism are rooted to Sixteenth Century, Rabbi Joseph Karo’s doctrines (Shulchan Aruch). Based on these doctrines today’s rules of representation, Yoreh De’ah, consisted of eight paragraphs in Judaism (Schwarzschild, 1975).
Keywords: Art in Judaism, Aesthetics in Judaism.