This post has been adapted from an earlier post: Verse of the Month: Proverbs 6:6 “Go to the ant…”
A trail of ants along the kitchen floor; a ragged column climbing the legs of the garden chair; picnics spoilt by the steady and unrelenting invasion of this tiny army. Who can forget that itchy feeling on those muggy evenings of flying ants? Unfortunately we usually encounter ants as an often unwelcome irritation to our lives. This is a pity as it means that we can easily overlook their breathtakingly complex and remarkable lives which still keeps modern scientists intrigued.
Go to the ant, you lazybones; consider its ways, and be wise.
Proverbs 6:6 (NRSV)
This proverb not only suggests that the ant can be a guide for living, it can also help us uncover the intriguing world of biblical wisdom literature by giving us an insight into how these types of text were composed, developed and circulated.
It is great to see an article by one of our Visiting Professors, Martin O’Kane, in the inaugural edition of a beautifully produced open-access journal the Bible in the Arts (BiA) (Die Bibel in der Kunst – BiKu) . Martin specialises in the Bible and Art, and a number of readers will have enjoyed his lectures and guided tours, particularly around the Barbour Institute.
The journal is going to be particularly useful to anyone interested in reception history and the use of the Bible within the visual arts, as well as music and literature. It will also include reviews and reports on current research.
Martin’s article, Painting of King Solomon in Islamic and Orientalist Tradition, explores the person King Solomon, a very popular and influential figure within biblical and post-biblical tradition, as it appears in Islamic and Orientalist art. After examining Solomon in the Qur’an and later Islamic tradition, Martin explores the depiction of Solomon in Islamic miniature painting (illustrated) and noting that the prevalence of illustrations like these
…help to dispel the myth of the lack of enthusiasm for figurative art in Islam, especially in relation to how prophets can be portrayed.
Martin O’ Kane (2017: 17)
Martin then explores Solomon within the Orientalist tradition, with its focus on the increasingly lavish and exotic.
For those who’s appetites have been whetted in regards to Solomon, Bible in the Arts also includes another article by Antonia Krainer (in German), this time focusing upon the recent (post 1960) interest in the Queen of Sheba and what it can tell us about the way these old stories/figures can connect with our imaginative and creative worlds: King Vidor „Solomon and Sheba“ (1959) –Hintergründe und Wirkungsgeschichte
This proverb not only suggests that the ant can be a guide for living, it can also help us uncover the intriguing world of biblical wisdom literature by giving us insights into how these types of text were composed, developed and circulated. Continue reading →