Parution : C. Strine, M. Mclnroy, A. Torrance, « Image as Theology. The Power of Art in Shaping Christian Thought, Devotion, and Imagination », Turnhout, Brepols, 2022

Our lives are saturated with images. They exert an unparalleled power in contemporary culture. However, the power of images is in fact nothing new. Although texts are often the most important historical sources for academics, the image played an enormous role for those who actually lived in these past societies. Images communicated all manner of concepts and messages to a much wider audience than theological texts. Throughout history, images frequently depicted God, human beings, and their relationship in a manner that was meant to teach theology and inspire awe. Historically speaking, most people who have done theological reflection have done so in intimate conversation with the images seen in sacred spaces.

This volume explores how images themselves are theology, how they influence sacred texts and theological concepts in a way that words cannot on their own. In part one, the book presents five essays investigating the ways in which images have shaped sacred and theological texts. In part two, the book offers five discussions of the sort of theological work that images can perform that words are unable to do. The volume concludes by outlining areas for future research and exploration based on the insights achieved among the chapters. The collection is, in its totality, a celebration of how central the image has been in shaping theology and how it should continue to do so.

Table of contents : 

Foreword — Thomas Pfau

Introduction: The Place of the Image — C. A. Strine, Mark McInroy, and Alexis Torrance

‘Mischmetaphors’: (Re-)Presenting God in Unusual and Sophisticated Ways — Brent A. Strawn

Mary’s Image as Theology — Jane Heath

Early Christian Visual Theology: Iconography of the Trinity and Christ — Robin M. Jensen

Persons or Principles? The Meaning of the Byzantine Icon Revisited — Alexis Torrance

The Catalytic Image: Migration, Image, and Exegetical Imagination in the Jacob Narrative (Genesis 25–33) — C. A. Strine

Image as Theology in Dante’s Commedia: Praying for Each Other’s Good — Vittorio Montemaggi

Beholding the Radiant Invisible: The Incarnate Image in Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Jean-Luc Marion — Mark McInroy

Brought into the Fold — Ben Quash

The End of Images: Towards a Phenomenology of Eschatological Expectation — Judith Wolfe

Conclusion: Whither the Image? — C. A. Strine, Mark McInroy, and Alexis Torrance


Index of Subjects

Index of Authors

Index of Biblical Texts

Dr C. A. Strine is Lecturer in Ancient Near Eastern History and Literature at the Univerity of Sheffield. He is the author of the award-winning monograph Sworn Enemies and Director of the Back Where You Came From project, reading biblical stories about migration and making art with sanctuary seekers.

Mark McInroy is Associate Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota). He is the author of Balthasar on the Spiritual Senses: Perceiving Splendour (OUP, 2014), for which he received a Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise in 2015.

Alexis Torrance is Archbishop Demetrios College Chair of Byzantine Theology. He is the author of Repentance in Late Antiquity: Eastern Asceticism and the Framing of the Christian Life, ca. 400–650, for which he received a Manfred Lautenschläger Award for Theological Promise in 2015.

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