Paul's Visual Piety: The Metamorphosis of the Beholder by J. M. F. Heath

By J. M. F. Heath

This publication is on the interface among visible reports and bible study. For a number of many years, students of visuality were uncovering the importance of daily visible practices, within the feel of learnt conduct of viewing and the assumptions that underpin them. they've got proven that those play a key function in forming and retaining relationships in non secular devotion and in social lifestyles. The "Visual Studies" move introduced concerns resembling those to the eye of such a lot humanities disciplines via the top of the 20 th century, yet till very lately made little effect on bible study. the reason for this "disciplinary blind-spot" lies partially within the reception of St Paul, who grew to become Augustine's idea for platonising denigration of the cloth international, and Luther's for religion via "scripture alone." within the fingers of extra radical Reformers, the be aware was once quickly vehemently against the picture, an emphasis that was once extra fostered within the philologically-inclined collage schools the place religious study developed.
Yet Paul's piety is visible in addition to verbal, even apart from his mystical visions. He envisages a contemplative concentrate on sure this-worldly attractions as an essential component of believers' metamorphosis into Christ-likeness. This topic runs via Romans, yet unearths its such a lot concise expression in his correspondence with the Corinthians: "We all, with unveiled face, beholding in a replicate the distinction of the Lord, are being metamorphosed into a similar photograph, from glory to glory, as from the Lord, the Spirit" (2 Cor 3:18). Richly ambiguous and allegorical as this can be, Paul almost immediately later on defines a secular web site the place this transformative, sacred gaze happens. He insists that now not mere demise, however the dying of Jesus is 'made manifest' in his discomfort apostolic flesh. Rightly perceived, this turns into a holy spectacle for the sacred gaze, operating existence in those that behold in religion, yet undoing those that see yet don't perceive.

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G. ïƒ ìbí ªaæ Iðe ôBò ìïæçBò ŒÆd ôïF år äïıò ôe qŁïò ªØªíþóŒïıóØ ŒÆd IðƪªåºïFóØí, ™ìåEò äb Iðe ôHí MŁHí ŒÆd ôHí Šæªøí åÆæÆŒôBæÆ ŒÆd ìïæçcí IîßÆí (DC Or. 2); PLUMMER 1915: 151–2; Kittel 1966: 374; COLLANGE 1972: 231–3, etc. Some scholars do translate år äïò as ‘sight’, appealing to Num 12:8, where God says to Moses óôüìÆ ŒÆôa óôüìÆ ºÆºÞóø ÆPôfiH, Kí åYäåØ ŒÆd ïP äØ’ ÆNíتìÜôøí. They argue for the active usage because they suppose a difficulty in reading different subjects for ðßóôåøò (‘our faith’) and åYäïıò (‘Jesus’ form).

Yet none of these tropes is unproblematic.

98 The imbrication of the visual and the religious issues is evident in the attempts by Kant and Hegel to work out philosophically the Enlightenment aspiration to transcend the sensuality of the visual. Kant’s denigration of the material in his quest for the sublime was the more extreme in its dualism, while Hegel recognized that the material work was integral to faithfully perceiving the inner truth. 99 The image of the Jew was drawn into the process of cultural construction: Kant saw in Judaism the ideal elder sister of Christianity, who had preserved the Second Commandment unsullied; Hegel saw in 95 96 97 98 99 Elkins 1996: esp.

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