"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, February 22, 2016

Who Has Authority Over Christian Art?

I was discussing iconoclasm in the West, especially in the Latin Church following Vatican II, with some of my students this week, noting with them that iconoclasm is always a prelude to a new politics, and is always bound up with questions of power. That latter question comes in for new examination in a collection just released, with chapters on evangelicalism, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy: L.F. Gearon, Religious Authority and the Arts: Conversations in Political Theology (Peter Lang, 2015), 286pp.

About this book we are told:
The transcripted conversations that represent the substance of this volume are the result of a research project funded by the United Kingdom’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. The product of nearly three years of interviews conducted with senior religious figures from a diversity of religious traditions, this book represents a physical and political-theological journey around England – from metropolitan capital through provincial cities and rural hinterlands, from rural episcopal palaces to industrial estates, from London mansion houses to remote mountain monastery – and provides a snapshot of how religious leaders and authority figures respond to contemporary issues of freedom of expression. Religious Authority and the Arts has a substantial introduction that situates the conversations within a theological, political, and cultural framework.

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