The Beauty of the Cross: The Passion of Christ in Theology and the Arts, from the Catacombs to the Eve of the Renaissance

The Beauty of the Cross: The Passion of Christ in Theology and the Arts, from the Catacombs to the Eve of the Renaissance

The Beauty of the Cross: The Passion of Christ in Theology and the Arts, from the Catacombs to the Eve of the Renaissance

The Beauty of the Cross: The Passion of Christ in Theology and the Arts, from the Catacombs to the Eve of the Renaissance

Excerpt

This volume represents the first part of a study of the concept and the symbol of the cross in Christian theology and imagination. Each of the chapters will examine the theology of the cross in both its conceptual and aesthetic mediations within a specific historical context, from the early church to the eve of the Renaissance.

The first chapter is methodological. After explaining the notion of aesthetic theology and its relationship to theoretical, conceptual theology, it sets forth the specific problem to be examined here: the Christian perception of “the cross”—that is, the suffering and death of Jesus —as a salvific event. Finally, it deals with the ideas of paradigms, styles, and classics that will guide the progress of the book 'exposition.

The following chapters attempt to correlate theological paradigms of interpretation of the cross—that is, a particular aspect of Christian soteriology—with artistic styles that were more or less contemporaneous with the theological ideas of each paradigm, or that illustrate a parallel theological attitude.

Each chapter begins with a representation of the crucifix that in some way exemplifies the focus of the chapter. There follows an examination of themes from representative theological writings on soteriology and a consideration of artistic developments that are to someextent parallel, or that can be seen to embody similar themes and reactions to the cross. The general method, then, is one of correlation between two kinds of interpretation of the Christian tradition and of human experience: between theology as explicit systematic thought and as affective and communicative images. The justifica-

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