A Taste of Honey

Metaphorizing Nature in Traditional Jewish Art


  • Ilia Rodov Bar-Ilan University




Honey metaphor, bees, visual arts, Judaism, aspiration for wisdom, religious art


The production and consumption of honey have inspired linguistic and visual metaphors in letters, folk customs, and the plastic arts. The images conveying the honey metaphor in medieval and modern Jewish art emphasized the operations with and about honey: the human or animal appetite for it and enjoyment in its consumption, as well as its mysterious production and courageous protection by the bees. The natural phenomenon of bee honey and bodily reactions to it was symbolically projected to represent human intellectual learning. Visual implementations of the honey metaphor in Hebrew books and synagogues and on Jewish ritual objects moralized nature in order to propagate aspiration for divine wisdom.

Author Biography

Ilia Rodov, Bar-Ilan University

Head of the Department of Jewish Art


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How to Cite

Rodov, I. (2020). A Taste of Honey: Metaphorizing Nature in Traditional Jewish Art. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 14(3), 370–394. https://doi.org/10.1558/jsrnc.38824



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