N E W L S

East Side - E18Sh42

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Joseph and his Brothers

The biblical account of Joseph and his brothers begins on the north side of the capital with Joseph’s dream, which he recounts to his father and eleven brothers. In it he saw himself and his brothers as bound sheaves of wheat and the sheaves of his brothers had bowed before his own. In another dream the sun, the moon, and the stars all bowed down to him. His father scolded him and the jealous brothers were also enraged at the patriarch’s favourite son.

The west side depicts Joseph on the way to the fields where his brothers were tending the sheep. Seeing him come, the brothers conspire to kill him.

On the south side Joseph is being taken out of the well into which his brothers had thrown him and they then sell him to an Egypt-bound caravan. In order to deceive their father they soak his tunic in the blood of a slaughtered goat.

On the final side of the capital the brothers bring the blood-soaked robe to the father claiming a wild animal had killed Joseph. Jacob, in bitter sorrow, tears his clothes to pieces.
In terms of number, there reigns a near balance in the cloister between Old and New Testament themes, though it is clear that no direct episodes from the passion of Christ were employed. Instead, the capital with Joseph and his brothers represents a typological connection to the New Testament. Here, the sale of Joseph to the caravan refers to the betrayal of Judas and, likewise, capital W20Sh94 links the mocking of the drunken Noah to the mocking of Christ.