Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Artist As Thinker

Luke Ford writes:

In his 1998 lecture on Exodus 26, Dennis Prager said: The artist is called a thinker in Hebrew. Art without thought is not considered valuable. What great art does not have an intellectual element to it? Breaking your guitars over your knees doesn’t take thought. There’s something in me nervous when such people are described as artists. These people go through the door labeled “Artist’s Entrance” but it is not fair to the term. The greatest art demands the greatest thought.

It is generally perceived that Judaism doesn’t care about art. If Judaism doesn’t care about art details, why does it devote so many chapters in the Torah to artistic details?

The Jewish people traded in the aesthetic for the intellectual and moral. The aesthetic has largely been ignored. With the destruction of the temple, art is no longer necessary. That is why the rabbis banned music in the synagogue. The temple had musical instruments played on the Sabbath.