Mosesbrunnen - Atlas Obscura

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This bunny-eared Moses represents an attempted compromise between two biblical interpretations. 


Bern, Switzerland, is a city of springs with beautifully decorated fountains offering free spring water all around town. Most of these are decorated with various statues, such as the famous Child Eater of Bern. However, this spring in Bern, known as the Mosesbrunnen (or Moses Fountain), depicts perhaps a much more interesting image of Moses showing an attempted compromise between two biblical interpretations.

The spring and statue date back to 1544. It was later rebuilt in the 18th century. What makes this statue special is the two rays on each side of Moses’ head, colloquially called bunny ears by people today.

However, the story behind this depiction dates back half a millennium to a great discussion about the meaning of the Hebrew word קָרַ֔ן in Exodus 34:29–35. Some believed it meant “horned,” while others believed it meant “radiant.” Those who follow the first interpretation believed that Moses had grown horns after meeting God, a depiction that can still be seen in many old churches. Others depicted him with a halo, much like those given to saints. 

Needless to say, many fights have resulted from discussions about this interpretation, and this statue was proposed as a compromise between the two, showing Moses with two “horns” of light. 

Know Before You Go

The statue is freely accessible, and the water is drinkable. 

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May 21, 2024

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