Why does the bible prohibit fabrication of graven images? What is the relationship between imagery and idolatry? Within what limits does the Biblical prohibition apply? Lionel Kochan makes these questions the starting-point for a perceptive analysis, in the Jewish perspective, of religious symbolism, the ambivalent concept of the holy, the absence of meditation between man and God, the role of memory, and the notion of time. Has the Biblical prohibition made the Jews a people of the ear rather than the eye? How has it affected the welcome that Judaism extends to music above all the other arts? How has the Jewish figurative art been affected, especially in its depiction of the human being? These and other matters of major concern to all religions are discussed with insight and verve in the light of the Biblical rejection of the image. The eventual result is to create a world-view that has set its stamp not only on Judaism but also on Christian thought and action through the iconoclastic movements in the Byzantine period and the Reformation.