Undergraduate/Graduate Seminar: Religious Images and the Quest for God, 300-800
This undergraduate seminar (open also to graduate students) explores the emergence of Christian religious art and its role in the teaching the stories recounted in the sacred books of Christianity, understanding theology, and approaching the divine through contemplation. Topics covered include: perceptions and visualization of the divine in the Roman artistic tradition; the late antique artistic and architectural turn associated with the legalization of Christianity in the Roman empire; the early Christian debate about sacred space; and the Byzantine theology of images. Through weekly discussions, short writing assignments, and advising, the seminar will prepare its participants to research and write a research paper on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor. The ultimate goal of this seminar is to stimulate critical thinking about larger questions, such as the role images in Christian spirituality, the role of holy images for the development of Western art, the relationship between spiritual experience and religious practices of any era, and the power of representations more generally.
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical areas (A) and Chronological period (I).