Hidden symbols overlooked in Sistine Chapel -- BYU lecture

BYU law professor John W. Welch astonished the scholars at the International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, in Rome recently.

"Types and Shadows: Intimations of Divinity" will be on view at the BYU Museum of Art through March 13. Welch pointed out to his learned audience that the frescoes on the side walls of the Sistine Chapel all show numerous typological, or symbolic, parallel stories of Christ's ministry and the life of Moses, something none of them had considered before.

"Astonishment describes (their reaction) to it," Welch said in a lecture delivered at BYU on Feb. 18 in the Museum of Art auditorium.

"Art historians don't know the Bible well enough, and the biblical scholars don't know their art history well enough, to see these parallels."

The Mormon scholar said when he told his audience his topic, men who studied in the famous chapel on a daily basis said they had never noticed anything like what he was describing.

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