By Josef Chaim Kaufman with the assistance of Robert Deutsch
(Jaffa, Israel: Archaeological Center Publications, 2012), 287 pp., $194 (hardcover)
Some may condemn it. Others will praise it. It is essentially a picture catalog of 1,034 unprovenanced oil lamps from the collection of the author, Chaim Kaufman. Despite its Hebrew title (Haneroth Halalou [“These Lamps”]), the short introductory material is in French and English. The author frankly notes that the work “is not based on scientific or archaeological research but is an expression of my personal feelings of wonder for this subject.”
Although no one knows precisely where these lamps came from, the author says they are from the Land of Israel. This is probably true of most but not all of them, says assistant Robert Deutsch.
More than 90 lamps are decorated with menorahs, most with seven branches, as the Temple menorah; others have five or nine branches in deference to the injunction not to reproduce the menorah in the Temple.
The author tells us the lamps in this catalog date from the 20th century B.C.E. to the ninth century C.E. The vast majority, however, are from the late Second Temple period to the Byzantine period. Still, they are a dazzling array, at least to the aficionado.
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