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IMC 2009: Sessions

Session 214: Heresy and Orthodoxy in Artistic and Architectural Expression, II: Haeresis and Self-Fashioning

Monday 13 July 2009, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Anna Russakoff, American University of Paris
Paper 214-aEmergence of the Individual: Iconography of the Angel of Death and Changes in the Concept of 'Self'
(Language: English)
Joanna Krawczyk-Coltekin, Universiteit Leiden
Index terms: Art History - General, Lay Piety, Mentalities, Religious Life
Paper 214-bImages of Orthodoxy in Jonas of Orléans's Life of Saint Hubert
(Language: English)
Kelly Gibson, Department of History, Harvard University
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Hagiography, Lay Piety
Paper 214-cResisting Conversion and the True Aristocrat: Jews Imagining Themselves in Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
(Language: English)
Sara Offenberg, Department of Arts / Department of Jewish Thought, Bar-Ilan University / Department of the Arts, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva
Index terms: Art History - Painting, Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Liturgy, Manuscripts and Palaeography

These papers explore the question of self-identification and self-depiction in the context of orthodoxy and heresy.

Paper -a:
The rise of the individuality is one of the main and defining aspects of the dawn of the Renaissance and the end of the late medieval time. The 'creation of individual' can be well observed in the changing iconography of the angels carrying the soul. An analysis of the few hundreds of examples from the Northern Art shows a certain pattern in this evolution. On the early examples the passive soul is carried to heaven in a cradle of its shroud. At the Bosch's Ascension soul gains a partial independence, while at Patinir's Charon the angel is not engaged in lifting the soul, but points possible paths. This illustrates the shift from the trust in God in the medieval period to the individual responsibility of one's own salvation of the modern era.

Paper -b:
Around 825, Jonas of Orléans began to write On the Worship of Images, his treatise refuting Claudius of Turin's objections to the place of images and relics in worship. At the same time, Jonas began to revise the Life of Saint Hubert. Although he claimed that he revised in order to improve the style of the 8th-century vita, he made subtle yet striking changes to emphasize the intercessory role of relics and the orthodoxy of those who venerate them. Jonas showed how his theory of images should appear in practice, which made Hubert's world exemplify Jonas's ideal world. The images of orthodoxy presented in Jonas's revision reveal not only Jonas's position in the debate over images but also his use of hagiography as theological polemic.

Paper -c:
From the beginning, Jews were placed in an inferior position in Christian society. The Christians' superiority over the Jews confirmed that Christianity was the true religion and God's choice, while Judaism had lost the grace of God. According to the Christian claim, the only way the Jews might receive salvation was by conversion. The message of the Christian faith was transmitted by preaching and through literature, public disputes, plays, and art. In the proposed paper, I suggest that medieval Jews have no interest in converting to Christianity, since doing so would lower their status, as they are the subjects of the true king. Therefore, the Jews portrayed themselves as aristocrats, by gestures and cloths. The Jews emphasized that God's rule over the world is eternal, and may be understood as standing in opposition to the Christian kingdoms. This assumption will be examined in medieval Jewish art and literature.