Chapter

Reading Christian Texts and Images

Robert Kiely and Paul J. Contino

in Teaching the Tradition

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199795307
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932894 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199795307.003.0010
Reading Christian Texts and Images

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At any college or university it is valuable to study the literature of belief, taking seriously the religious claims that inspired and still infuse it. In fact doing so with bright, curious, and open-minded students can be absolutely exhilarating. There is enormous range, creativity, color, and originality in Christian writing throughout the centuries, and theological questions arise naturally from reading such texts. The Bible itself has had a more pervasive and important influence on English and American literature than any other book. And across a variety of literary genres the likes of Augustine and Bonhoeffer, Teresa of Avila and T. S. Eliot, Herbert and Hopkins, Francis and Luther, Kierkegaard and King remind us that religious conversion and commitment are both a solitary and a collective process. It is a lifelong conversation with Jesus and with one another, an adventure open to all, costing, as Julian of Norwich said, “not less than everything.” This literature is complemented by integrating Christian pictorial imagination because art engages the sense of sight and appeals to the human desire for beauty.

Keywords: literature of belief; Bible; Christianity; saints; icon; Renaissance art

Chapter.  8503 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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