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Book of Moses Essays
The Two Ways (Moses 5-8)
The Family of Adam and Eve (6:1-12)

Essay #74: The Family of Adam and Eve (Moses 6:1–12)

Pictured on his deathbed, Adam is supported by Eve and surrounded by a daughter and two sons. In the background, Seth converses with an angel. The scene of the Death of Adam is part of a cycle of frescoes in the church of San Francesco in Arezzo, Italy illustrating the Legend of the True Cross. In this cycle, the classical forms of the quattrocento appear against a “sparse, often surrealist landscape—the pictorial equivalent of silence. To the modern eye, Piero’s paintings show a subdued emotion, where rational theory appears to have overwhelmed naturalism.”...

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Essay #72: The Two Ways (Moses 5): Adam, Eve, and the New and Everlasting Covenant (Moses 5:4–6)

In this unsettling scene, we see God speaking from a cloud to the fleeing Cain as he runs past the still-burning altar. Abel’s lifeless body, dominating the foreground, loudly proclaims the falsity of Cain’s profession of ignorance. The contrast of the skin color to the gray monochroome of the background highlights the link between the three actors....

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Essay #73: The Two Ways (Moses 5): The Five Celestial Laws (Moses, chapters 5–8)

This carefully conceived scene, executed in grisaille to decorate the top of a niche containing a portrait of Adam, is part of a set of large altarpiece panel paintings in the Joost Vijdt chapel in the Cathedral of St. Bavon at Ghent, Belgium. The portrayal of Abel lifting up the lamb “prefigures both the sacrifice of Christ and the Eucharist.” The contrasting choices of Cain and Abel with respect to their covenantal obligations typify the account of the parting of the ways of righteousness and wickedness that begins in Moses 5. Of those who follow the way of wickedness, Jude wrote: “Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain.”...

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