David Nirenberg's Aesthetic Theology and Its Enemies: Judaism in Christian PDF

By David Nirenberg

ISBN-10: 1611687772

ISBN-13: 9781611687774

Via such a lot of Western eu heritage, Jews were a numerically tiny or fullyyt absent minority, yet throughout that background Europeans have still apprehensive very much approximately Judaism. Why should still that be so? This brief yet powerfully argued ebook means that Christian anxieties approximately their very own transcendent beliefs made Judaism an immense instrument for Christianity, as an apocalyptic religion—characterized through prizing soul over flesh, the religious over the literal, the heavenly over the actual world—came to phrases with the inescapable value of physique, language, and fabric issues during this international.

Nirenberg exhibits how turning the Jew right into a personification of worldly over religious issues, floor over internal that means, allowed cultures prone towards transcendence to appreciate even their so much materialistic practices as religious. targeting paintings, poetry, and politics—three actions specially condemned as worldly in early Christian culture—he unearths how, during the last thousand years, those actions however improved the possibility of their very own lifestyles inside of Christian tradition simply because they have been used to symbolize Judaism. Nirenberg attracts on an astonishingly assorted number of poets, painters, preachers, philosophers, and politicians to reconstruct the jobs performed by way of representations of Jewish “enemies” within the construction of Western paintings, tradition, and politics, from the traditional international to the current day.

This erudite and tightly argued survey of the ways that Christian cultures have created themselves through brooding about Judaism will attract the broadest variety of students of faith, paintings, literature, political idea, media conception, and the background of Western civilization extra generally.

Hardcover is un-jacketed.

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Extra info for Aesthetic Theology and Its Enemies: Judaism in Christian Painting, Poetry, and Politics

Example text

The task is not easy, as Plato goes on to explain in this same passage (Phaedrus 250a-e), because sensible things can lead away from truth as easily as they can toward it. ” How does the sight of sensible beauty affect us? It can send us “after the fashion of a four-footed beast” to “beget offspring of the flesh” and “consort with wantonness” (recall the vocabulary of Num. 15). Or conversely, it can awaken our memory of beauty in that other world, the metaphysical world “that truly is,” and stimulate our soul’s striving toward it.

In the last panel we see the board itself enshrined as object of devotion. And all this, the poem tells us, the Virgin did “in order to teach” (por dar entendimento). The Jew here serves as an example, a “vessel of wrath” whose negative contrast allows the proper Christian attitude toward images to emerge in high relief. 29 They tell us just as much about shifts in Christian relations to images. There were in fact many Jews (and Muslims) living in the Christian lands of the Iberian Peninsula, and their representations in the Cantigas owe a great deal to how Christians experienced or imagined this social reality.

So they drew up the inventory of all the standard types, and consecrated specimens of them in their temples.  .  . [and] that of today both exhibit an identical artistry” (Laws 656E–657A). Plato’s praise of the Egyptians was aimed directly at what he considered the misguided aesthetic fashions of his own day, which celebrated artists for feats of naturalism and delighted in their invention of techniques of illusion. Yet through his criticism, Plato was also issuing painting a passport into the age of transcendence.

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Aesthetic Theology and Its Enemies: Judaism in Christian Painting, Poetry, and Politics by David Nirenberg


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