“See, I Have Called the Renowned Name of Bezalel, Son of Uri . . .”: Josephus’s Portrayal of the Biblical “Architect”.

Above we see a picture of people building the Tabernacle under the guidance of Bezalel.

Bezalel son of Uri, literally “in the shadow of God, son of light,” is a unique character in the Hebrew Bible. He is the divinely charged chief craftsman of the Tabernacle. According to Scripture (Exodus 31–38), Bezalel was given “wisdom,” “understanding,” and “knowledge” to pursue this task—a level of creative capacity reserved for God alone in the rest of the Bible.1 Since biblical times, Bezalel has served as a kind of touchstone for reflection upon the significance of artistic inspiration as well as the public role and status of craftsmen. Indeed, from the Renaissance to the present, Bezalel has been largely transformed into the artist-hero par excellence, the precursor and peer of Michelangelo and Raphael.2 In the ongoing polemics between Protestants and Catholics in early modern and modern Europe and North America, both sides have frequently invoked Bezalel.