By David Nirenberg
Via such a lot of Western eu heritage, Jews were a numerically tiny or fullyyt absent minority, yet throughout that historical past Europeans have still apprehensive very much approximately Judaism. Why may still that be so? This brief yet powerfully argued booklet means that Christian anxieties approximately their very own transcendent beliefs made Judaism an immense device 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 significance of physique, language, and fabric issues during this global.
Nirenberg indicates how turning the Jew right into a personification of worldly over non secular issues, floor over internal that means, allowed cultures vulnerable towards transcendence to appreciate even their such a lot materialistic practices as non secular. targeting paintings, poetry, and politics—three actions specifically condemned as worldly in early Christian culture—he finds how, during the last thousand years, those actions however accelerated the opportunity of their very own lifestyles inside of Christian tradition simply because they have been used to symbolize Judaism. Nirenberg attracts on an astonishingly varied choice of poets, painters, preachers, philosophers, and politicians to reconstruct the jobs performed through representations of Jewish “enemies” within the construction of Western artwork, tradition, and politics, from the traditional global to the current day.
This erudite and tightly argued survey of the ways that Christian cultures have created themselves through pondering Judaism will entice the broadest variety of students of faith, artwork, literature, political idea, media conception, and the background of Western civilization extra generally.
Hardcover is un-jacketed.
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Additional resources for Aesthetic Theology and Its Enemies: Judaism in Christian Painting, Poetry, and Politics
The Christians gesture in rapt attention toward the fountain of grace, in which some eucharistic wafers are floating. The Jews, their high priest blindfolded, lean away from the fountain and avert their faces, vainly consulting various scrolls of Hebrew script, the largest of which lies unfurled like a fallen standard on the floor. 33 In fact in the artistic bravura of those watery wafers floating at the very center of attention in the painting, we should see a manifesto about the power of painting in mediating grace.
15:42–50). Later generations of Christians 22 Aesthetic Theology and Its Enemies would discover the potential for these and many other positions in Paul’s writings. But they also discovered in them a common language with which to debate the relative merits of their many different views about this gap: the language of Judaism. Like Paul the gospel reflected on the dangers of this world of signs and things, and represented those dangers in terms of images, deception, and Judaism. ” Since in this chapter we are concerned more with vision than with words, let’s conclude our biblical survey with some examples of visual danger.
They retain the potential to do so, even as they understand themselves to be striving toward peace, love, and justice. Can a political theology love its enemies? Can an aesthetic theology overcome the alienations it itself produces? 14 ch a pt e r on e Painting between Christianity & Judaism A The Lust of the Eyes ccustomed as we are to churches and museums overflowing with Christian images, it is easy to forget that across the centuries many Christians have considered the plastic arts perilous.