The authors believe the chapel, which lies within the Apostolic Palace, the official home of the Pope in Vatican City, was intended to be decoded and is a “lost mystical message of universal love.”
Both Blech, an associate professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University in New York, and Doliner, a tour guide at the Vatican, say shapes that symbolize Hebrew letters can be found within the Sistine’s 14,000 square foot ceiling.
One such symbol, the authors claim, is the figures of David and Goliath forming the outline of the letter ‘gimel’. Gimel means ‘strength’ in ancient Kabbala tradition. As The Telegraph informs, the ancient Kabbalah teachings are dedicated to decoding the “inner meaning of the Tanakh, or Henbrew Bible, and explain reasons for Jewish religious observances” (1).
Another ‘secret symbol’ hidden within the tapestry of the Sistine Chapel is, according to the book, the Hebrew letter ‘chet’, which denotes ‘loving kindness’. The authors assert that this secret symbol is set within the scene of Judith and her handmaiden carrying the head of the Assyrian general Holofernes.
Speaking on a US television show, Doliner said:
“There are so many layers of meaning on meaning, and most of it is from Jewish tradition.”
Doliner and Blech believe there are also several attacks on Pope Julius II hidden within the chapel’s walls, who commissioned Michelangelo to carry out the work.
Though it’s not just Doliner and Blech who believe the Sistine Chapel hides mystical Jewish symbols and codes.
The Spirit of the Scripture.com writes about the Sistine Chapel ceiling’s ‘secrets in plain sight’ (2).
Referring to Michelangelo’s painting ‘The Creation of Adam’, which he completed on the chapel’s ceiling in 1512, the article cites the thoughts of Dr. Meshberger in 1990. In the American Medical Journal in 1990, Dr. Meshberger noted how the images behind God in the painting resemble a human brain. As the Spirit of the Scripture notes, Michelangelo’s painting shows God’s hand extending from the prefrontal cortex of the brain, an especially complex region of the brain, reaching out to touch Adam.
“This painting shows us a very unorthodox view of man’s relationship to God,” writes the Spirit of the Scripture.
In its ’20 things you didn’t know about Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel’ article (3), Swide writes how historians have recognized that the depiction of God standing within the cross section of a human brain, “stands to symbolize the Kabbalistic notion that man is born of the conscience of God.”
Swide also highlights how in the Adam and Eve section of the painting, Michelangelo’s tree is not an apple tree, a Christian symbol of temptation, but is a fig tree, which, in the Jewish faith, is traditionally associated with sin.
Michelangelo took four years to complete the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Similar to the how the historians are baffled by the meaning of Alexander Milne Calder’s marble sculptures in Philadelphia’s City Hall, now more than 500 years since it was constructed, the messages in the ceiling continue to baffle art enthusiasts, religious worships, and historians (4).
References & Image Credits:
(2) The Spirit of the Scripture
(4) TSW: The History and Mystery of Philadelphia City Hall
(5) Wikipedia: Images of Sistine Chapel