Josiah Destroys the High Places and Priests in the Shadow of the Temple

Bernard Picart, Josiah Destroys the High Places and Priests in the Shadow of the Temple, early 18th century. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

By the early 18th century, Europe had endured two centuries of strife and bloodshed in the name of religion. Amsterdam was becoming a focal point for tolerance and free thinking, and in 1723, engraver Bernard Picart and author and publisher Jean Frederic Bernard produced The Religious Ceremonies and Customs of All the Peoples of the World there. They put religion in comparative perspective, offering images and analysis of Jews, Catholics, Muslims, the peoples of the East and the Americas, Protestants, deists, Freemasons, and assorted sects. The work was a resounding success and helped pave the way for a more modern, secular understanding of religion.

This engraving is one of Picart’s earlier works for a Bible that illustrates the story in 2 Kings of King Josiah destroying all the altars of other gods.

Bernard Picart, Josiah Destroys the High Places and Priests in the Shadow of the Temple, early 18th century. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Members of a fraternal organization (Freemasonry) that emphasizes social philanthropy, interpersonal connections, and esoteric rituals.

Unrelated to religion.

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