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Face to Face: Portraits of the Divine in Early Christianity

Author: 
Robin M. Jensen (Author)
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Description

Examining how God and eventually Christ are portrayed in early Christian art, Jensen explores questions of the relationship between art and theology, conflicts over idolatry and iconography, and how the Christological controversies affected the portrayals of Christ. Since much of this art comes from ancient Rome, she places her analysis in the context of the history of Roman portraiture. One hundred photographs enhance the discussion.

ISBN: 
9780800636784
Price: 
$29.00
Release date: 
November 23, 2004
Pages: 
256
Width: 
7
Height: 
10

Endorsements

"This is a brilliant book of great visual and intellectual significance. The early church wrestled with the problems of religious imagery. In this work of impressive scholarship, all the nuances of that struggle, its fears, hesitations, and scruples are explained with sensitivity and skill. Jensen takes us from the first rare depictions of biblical narrative on to the various portrayals of an imagined Christ and his close followers. She makes us vividly aware of the doubts and devotional needs of those to whom these images were of immense theological import."
— Sister Wendy Beckett, author and art critic

"This book serves four groups of readers well: those who hunger for a glimpse into the early Christian visual imagination, those who wish to understand the long background to the Byzantine Iconoclastic Controversy, those with an interest in the history of Christian art, and finally, and perhaps most especially, those who mull over the roots of the tensions in our own world that are related to religiously and psychologically charged depictions of the sacred."
— Roberta Bondi, Professor of Church History, Candler School of Theology

Table of Contents

    Preface
    Abbreviations

  1. Visual Art, Portraits and Idolatry
  • Early Christian Views of Visual Art: Historical Analyses
  • Art and Idolatry in the Early Third-Century Christian Writings
  • Jewish Background for Christian Rejection of Visual Art
  • The Earliest Examples and Types of Christian Visual Art: Church Regulation
  • Portraits: A Particular Kind of Problematic Image
  • The First Portraits

  • Image and Portrait in Roman Culture and Religion
    • Idealization versus Realism in Roman Portraiture
    • The Savior-Type and thePhilosopher
    • Funerary Portraits
    • Portraits and Presence — The Image of the Emperor
    • The Images of the Gods

  • The Invisable God and the Visible Image
    • Justin Martyr: Refutation of Idols and Divine Theophanies
    • Irenaeus: The Unity of God against the Gnostics
    • Tertullian: The Dignity of the Incarnation and the Distinction of the Persons of the Trinity
    • Clement of Alexandria: Philosophical Aniconism and the Futility of Idols
    • Ancient Roman Precedents for Christian Aniconism
    • The Philosophical Argument in the First Four Centuries C.E.
    • First-Century and Early Rabbinic Teachings on the Invisible God
    • Theophilus, Novation, and origen: Salvific Vision ("Seeing God and Living")

  • Seeing the Divine in the Fourth and Early Fifth Centuries
    • The Invisible God in the Fourth Century
    • The Anthropomorphite Controversy
    • Augustine and the Problem of the Invisible God
    • Portrayals of God and the Trinity in Visual Art of the Third and Fourth Centuries

  • Portraits of the Incarnate One
    • Traditions and Legends regarding Jesus' Appearance
    • Jesus' Variant and Changing Appearances in Literary Sources
    • Jesus' Variant and Changing Appearances in Art
    • Jesus as Savior and Healer: The Beautiful Youth
    • Jesus as Teacher, Philosopher, and Ruler: The Bearded Type
    • Christology and the Image of Christ in Ravenna
    • The Transfigured Christ and the Two Natures Controversy
    • Christology, Salvation, and the Role of the Image

  • Early Portraits of the Saints and the Question of Likeness
    • Descriptions of Saints' Portraits in Literary Documents
    • Specific Examples of Holy Portraits
    • The Question of Likeness: Conclusion

    Notes
    Glossary
    Select Bibliography
    Index