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Art and the Religious Image in El Greco's Italy

By Andrew R. Casper

Art and the Religious Image in El Greco’s Italy is the first book-length examination of the early career of one of the early modern period’s most notoriously misunderstood figures. Born around 1541, Domenikos Theotokopoulos began his career as an icon painter on the island of Crete. He is best known, under the name “El Greco,” for the works he created while in Spain, paintings that have provoked both rapt admiration and scornful disapproval since his death in 1614. But the nearly ten years he spent in Venice and Rome, from 1567 to 1576, have remained underexplored until now. Andrew Casper’s examination of this period allows us to gain a proper understanding of El Greco’s entire career and reveals much about the tumultuous environment for religious painting after the Council of Trent. Casper’s analysis portrays El Greco as an active participant in some of the most formative artistic discussions of his time. It shows how the paintings of his early career explore the form, function, and conception of the religious image in the second half of the sixteenth century, and how he cultivated artistic fame by incorporating aspects of the styles of Michelangelo, Titian, and other contemporary masters. Beyond this, El Greco’s paintings bear the marks of an artist attentive to theoretical speculation on the artistic process, the current understandings of the science of optics and perspective, and the role of Roman antiquity for Christian ideology. All of these characteristics demonstrate El Greco’s unique understanding of the merger of artistic craft with devotional intent through what Casper terms the “artful icon.”

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The Art of Conversion

Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo

Cécile Fromont

Between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries, the west central African kingdom of Kongo practiced Christianity and actively participated in the Atlantic world as an independent, cosmopolitan realm. Drawing on an expansive and largely unpublished set of objects, images, and documents, Fromont examines the advent of Kongo Christian visual culture and traces its development across four centuries marked by war, the Atlantic slave trade, and, finally, the rise of nineteenth-century European colonialism. By offering an extensive analysis of the religious, political, and artistic innovations through which the Kongo embraced Christianity, Fromont approaches the country's conversion as a dynamic process that unfolded across centuries.

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The Art of Empire

Christian Art in Its Imperial Context

edited by Lee M. Jefferson and Robin M. Jensen

In recent years, art historians such as Johannes Deckers (Picturing the Bible, 2009) have argued for a significant transition in fourth- and fifth-century images of Jesus following the conversion of Constantine. Broadly speaking, they perceive the image of a peaceful, benevolent shepherd transformed into a powerful, enthroned Jesus, mimicking and mirroring the dominance and authority of the emperor. The powers of church and state are thus conveniently synthesized in such a potent image. This deeply rooted position assumes that ante-pacem images of Jesus were uniformly humble while post-Constantinian images exuded the grandeur of power and glory.

The Art of Empire contends that the art and imagery of Late Antiquity merits a more nuanced understanding of the context of the imperial period before and after Constantine. The chapters in this collection each treat an aspect of the relationship between early Christian art and the rituals, practices, or imagery of the Empire, and offer a new and fresh perspective on the development of Christian art in its imperial background.

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The Art of Preaching

Based on his wide-ranging knowledge of late-medieval Latin sermons from England as well as his editorial experience with medieval Latin texts, Siegfried Wenzel offers critical editions of five instruction manuals on the "art of preaching" dating from 1230 to the fifteenth century. Four of the texts are edited and translated for the first time; the fifth is re-edited from all extant manuscripts. Each of the five sermons is accompanied by a facing-page translation into English. The book aims to stimulate interest and new research in a field that still awaits closer analysis of the relationships among existing treatises and of their historical development.

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Artificial Nutrition and Hydration and the Permanently Unconscious Patient

The Catholic Debate

During the past few decades, high-profile cases like that of Terry Schiavo have fueled the public debate over forgoing or withdrawing artificial nutrition and hydration from patients in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). These cases, whether involving a

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Ascetic Culture

Essays in Honor of Philip Rousseau

Blake Leyerle

Ascetic Culture honors Philip Rousseau’s pathbreaking work on early Christian asceticism in a series of essays exploring how quickly the industrious and imaginative practitioners of asceticism, from the early fourth through the mid-fifth century, adapted the Greco-Roman social, literary, and religious culture in which they had been raised. Far from rejecting the life of the urban centers of the ancient world, they refined and elaborated that life in their libraries, households, and communities. The volume begins with a discussion of Egyptian monastic reading programs and the circulation of texts, especially the hugely influential Life of Antony. A second group of essays engages the topic of disciplinary culture in ascetic spaces such as the monastery, the household, and the city. A third group focuses on the topic of imaginary landscapes and ascetic self-fashioning. Ascetic Culture concludes by surveying the scholarly study of asceticism over the last one hundred and fifty years, arguing that previous generations of scholars have regarded asceticism either as a product of the inner dynamism of early Christianity or as a distortion of its earliest aims. Together, the contributors recognize, reflect upon, and extend the themes explored in Rousseau’s work on early Christianity’s ascetic periphery—a region whose inhabitants reflect in various ways the aspirations of their religion, from the daily to the otherworldly.

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Ascetics, Authority, and the Church in the Age of Jerome and Cassian

Second Edition

Philip Rousseau

In his Ascetics, Authority, and the Church in the Age of Jerome and Cassian, published in 1978, Philip Rousseau presented a survey of asceticism in the western church until about 400, including a selective study of Jerome, and then, moving into the fifth century, a reading of Sulpicius and Cassian. Rousseau explored such societal changes as the eventual triumph of the cenobitic movement and its growing effect within the church, not least on the episcopate. He focused primarily on the development among ascetics of a certain concept of spiritual authority; on the attraction of that concept for a wider audience; and on its enduring formulation within a literary tradition of great influence. For this second edition, Rousseau has supplied a new introduction with extensive bibliographical references in which he charts the ways in which scholarship on early Christian asceticism has developed since his compelling and influential original argument.

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The Assemblies of God

Godly Love and the Revitalization of American Pentecostalism

Margaret Poloma, John Green, 0

“An insightful, empirically based analysis of how the Assemblies of God denomination is changing in response to modernity. This multimethod book, based on both surveys and field research, contributes to a growing sociological literature on Pentecostalism.”

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Atlas historique des pratiques religieuses

Le Sud-Ouest du Québec au XIXe siècle

Louis Rousseau

Au moment où le Québec s’intégrait aux circuits commerciaux internationaux et préparait son entrée dans l’industrialisation, un vaste changement socio-culturel plaçait la religion au cœur des conduites et de l’image que se fait le peuple de ce monde en changement. L’Atlas historique des pratiques religieuses étudie le Sud-Ouest du Québec, qui abrite maintenant les deux tiers de la population québécoise, au moment où se déroulent, entre 1820 et 1880, les phases d’un véritable réveil religieux. Par le moyen des cartes, de graphiques et de tableaux liés au texte des planches, on observe dans cet atlas le mouvement d’ensemble qui modifia les attitudes et les conduites religieuses populaires. Voici quelques-uns des thèmes présentés à partir d’informations inédites tirées d’archives religieuses : salaire des curés, nombre d’auberges et de maisons closes, capitalisation des paroisses, découpage des frontières des paroisses, transformations démographiques, fréquentation scolaire, pratique du jeûne et de la communion pascale, campagnes de tempérance, zones à forte pénétration protestante, architecture des églises, dévotions, paroisses fécondes en prêtres ou en sœurs. Voici, enfin, le portrait contrasté des transformations religieuses qui ont donné à la société québécoise, il y a un siècle, un fort sentiment de sa valeur et de sa sécurité. Ce surprenant tableau historique relance la question de la place du facteur religieux à l’ère où s’impose l’idéal du progrès.

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