Catholic and Dominican Institute

The Menorah & The Cross

October 01, 2014 7:00 PM
Dominican Center Room 218

The Menorah & The Cross: Jewish-Christian Relations in the Christian Roman Empire

Recently a marble column of considerable historical significance was discovered in the ancient Roman city of Laodicea, now in modern Turkey. Incised on the column was a menorah, evidence of a prosperous Jewish community in 4-5th century Asia Minor. Sometime later, a large cross was incised over the menorah, indicating that an act of religious violence had taken place. This stone is the first indisputable archaeological evidence for Christian violence against synagogues discovered from antiquity, a phenomenon well known from Roman law and Patristics sources. This talk will draw out and reflect upon the significance of this discovery for the history of Christian-Jewish relations in late antiquity, and the continuing meaning of this ancient encounter for contemporary culture.

Dr. Steven Fine

Steven Fine is a cultural historian, specializing in Jewish history in the Greco-Roman world. He focuses on relationships between the literature of ancient Judaism, art, and archaeology. Holding a doctorate in Jewish history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an MA in art history from the University of Southern California, and a BA in religious studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Professor Fine is also an alumnus of Jerusalem’s Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies and of Yeshiva University of Los Angeles. Dr. Fine’s unique blend of history, rabbinic literature, archaeology, and art is expressed in a broad range of publications. Professor Fine has lectured throughout the United States, Israel, and in Europe. His current projects include a web-based learning portal on Jews and Judaism in the Greco-Roman Period and studies in Samaritan-Jewish relations during late antiquity, polychromy in ancient Jewish art, and God's Artisan: Bezalel the Tabernacle Builder in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Steven Fine is Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University in New York, head of the department of Jewish History at Yeshiva College, and director of Yeshiva University’s Center for Israel Studies. Learn more at

Dr. Steven Fine