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2022 J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series - Picturing the Bible: How Artists Tell the Story (videos)

with Dr. Robin W. Jensen Patrick O'Brien Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

2022 J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series - Picturing the Bible: How Artists Tell the Story (videos)

Contrary to what is often assumed, both Christians and Jews made pictorial art for their worship spaces no later than the early second century CE and have continued to do so through history. From the first, these artworks were never simply decorative but drew upon stories from both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. As such, they served and still serve an exegetical and even theological purpose and not simply an illustrative one.

The first of these lectures will consider the question of what early Christians (and Jews) considered idols and why depictions of their sacred stories were not among them.

The second lecture will consider the function and purpose of sacred art and consider the ways that artists' works through the centuries have illuminated and interpreted biblical narratives as well as theological dogmas. This lecture will also explore the relationship between verbal and visual exegesis.

The third lecture in this series will explore the emergence of non-pictorial sacred art in the modern era, and discuss how such works may still engage viewers through more abstract forms and formal elements of color and shape.


Lecture #1: Tuesday, October 18, 11:00 AM
CMU Chapel

The Second Commandment and the Myth of Jewish and Christian Aniconism


Lecture #2: Tuesday, October 18 7:00 PM
CMU Chapel

Visual Exegesis: Exploring, Expressing, and Expanding the Text


Lecture #3: Wednesday, October 19, 11:00 AM
CMU Chapel

Beyond the Text: From Icons to Abstract Art


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