Cologne Cathedral and 'The Jews'-The earlier Bible window

The Bible window in the axial chapel dates from sometime around 1260 and is the oldest window in the cathedral. At the time it was created, it was the only window in the recently completed choir chapels of the Gothic cathedral to feature images.

In the spirit of a typological interpretation of Bible scenes, this window features pairs of images that place scenes from the Old Testament, which is largely based on the Jewish Tanakh, opposite scenes from the New Testament.

The stories from the older Jewish text are interpreted here as types (i.e. archetypes) or prefigurations of episodes in the Christian history of salvation because, according to Saint Augustine, a Father of the Church, the New Testament is concealed in the Old. In this way, the Tanakh is appropriated by Christianity and interpreted in a new way.

For instance, the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon (1 Kgs. 10: 1–13) is placed opposite the adoration of the Christ Child by the Magi (Matt. 2: 1–12), and the image of the whale spitting Jonah out onto dry land (Jonah 2: 11) opposite the resurrection of Christ.

In the Old Testament scenes of the Presentation of Samuel (1 Sam. 1: 24–28) and the Weaning of Isaac (Gen 21: 8), some of the figures are wearing Jewish hats to indicate that they are Israelites.

The areas between the scenes from the life of Christ are filled with arabesques and scrollwork on which the names of Jewish kings and prophets are written. This is a reference to the Tree of Jesse, the schematic representation of Christ's lineage.

Matthias Deml

The Deliverance of Jonah

In the earlier Bible window, the image of Jonah is the type for the image of the resurrection of Christ opposite it.

KulturstiftungDombau Verein