Moses with the tables of the law

Designer: William Butterfield [?]

Keble College Chapel

This, the first of a set of three mosaic panels providing examples of faith that also serve as Old Testament types of Christ, depicts Moses bringing the Ten Commandments to the Israelites. Interpreters of scripture, such as St. Augustine and Dante, always understood Moses's bringing the moral law as a prefiguration of Jesus's bringing the new higher law. Moses's brother, Aaron, the high priest who appears at the panel's right, serves as a type of the Christian priest, a type with particular relevance to a High Church chapel.

This scene also leads to the central panel: When Moses returned with the ten commandments he found the faithless Israelites worshipping the golden calf. To punish them, God sent a plague of serpents, and the central panel depicts the antidote.

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Photograph 2012 and text by George P. Landow

Courtesy Keble College, the University of Oxford