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Bill Thayer

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No Escape

16". . . Herod flew into a rage, and gave orders for the massacre of all the boys aged two years or under, in Bethlehem and throughout the whole district . . . ."

Gospel according to Matthew, ch. 2 (Revised English Bible)

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The inscription is partly effaced, but reads something like:
occisio in ?parentium mandato Herodis (close-up).

It's very hard to write chipper art-historical commentary on such a gruesome event. Curious that the dead bodies should be far less convincing than the live figures, though.

For what it's worth, I'm inclined to believe that such a massacre actually did occur; similar horrors have been repeatedly perpetrated in our own lifetimes. For the arguments on both sides, see James Kiefer's excellent essay.

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Public policy, personal grief.

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Page updated: 16 Aug 03