In a monograph-length contribution to the Common Knowledge symposium on contextualism, the journal's editor decontextualizes and then recontextualizes the medieval iconographic trope of Ecclesia and Synagoga in an effort to make plausible a news story about Pope Francis that received little coverage in the press. During 2015, the fiftieth anniversary of the Vatican II declaration Nostra Aetate, Francis paid a surprise visit to a new statue in the United States, “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time” by Joshua Koffman, as a sign of his endorsement of its radical reconsideration of a trope long associated with anti-Jewish sentiment in the Catholic Church. This article, which begins with a detailed analysis of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI's essay on the Nostra Aetate treatise De Iudaeis, deals primarily with twelfth- and thirteenth-century uses of the iconography. Special attention is paid to the Anagogical Window of the Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis and to the Ecclesia, Synagoga, and King Solomon statues on the south facade of Strasbourg Cathedral, in both of which is found previously overlooked evidence of philo-Semitic, rather than anti-Semitic, thinking on the part of the designers. The article concludes that contextualist scholars of medieval art have found what they expected to find and ignored contrary indications.

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