Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Horns of Moses

In medieval art. According to artist Daniel Mitsui:
It is commonly known that Moses, in mediaeval art, is depicted with horns on his head. The supposed reason for this is also commonly known; every art history teacher informs his students that the Vulgate Bible contains a mistranslation, which resulted in an absurd artistic convention. I myself am disinclined to think that St. Jerome and centuries of iconographers were all idiots.


Jeff said...

I'd like to know what the Septuagint says...

elena maria vidal said...

I have been googling around and there are some great online books and many references offering different opinions. I might do an article on this myself. I always understood the horns to be "horns of light, meaning Moses was a powerful prophet. In Biblical language, "horns" were a sign of power and authority, from the "horns of the altar" in the Old Testament to the horned beasts in the Book of Revelation. The priestly mitre in both the Jewish and Christian tradition is divided into "horns" of authority.