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Tobit

christian period sculpture tobit’s

The Old Testament apocryphal book of Tobit has provided engaging subject matter for art from the early Christian period onward. The pious and charitable Tobit was a Jewish captive of the Assyrians in Nineveh; he dutifully   persisted in burying the bodies of dead *Jews and followed the ritual of sleeping outdoors after these burials, but one night he was blinded by droppings from sparrows in the trees above. Unable to work, eventually reduced to poverty, despairing and wishing to die, he even unjustly accused his wife, Anna, of stealing a goat from her employer. Tobit was later assisted by *God, who sent the archangel *Raphael (disguised as one of Tobit’s relatives) to accompany Tobit’s son *Tobias on a journey to another relative from whom he collected a debt and returned to cure his father’s blindness, as per the angel’s instructions, with the gall of a *fish. These stories of faith and miraculous intervention appear in early Christian sculpture and in illustrated manuscripts and sculpture through the Romanesque and Gothic period.
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