Double Seminar: Thomas Aquinas as ‘Alter Christus’| Giant Bible Frontispieces and the Hermeneutics of Reading

25 April, 16:00-17:30, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

St Thomas Aquinas: an ‘alter Christus’?   –  Marika Räsänen, University of Turku

Giant Bible Frontispieces and the Hermeneutics of Reading: Some Observations  –  Teemu Immonen (University of Turku)

Dr Marika Räsänen is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Turku. Her lecture proposes a new reading of the image of Thomas Aquinas based on the 14th- and 15th-century hagiographical, liturgical and iconographical sources. This reading suggests that Thomas was represented as a special follower of Christ, an alter Christus, both in the traditional way through hagiographical topoi, and in a more ‘personal’ way as the composer of the texts of Corpus Christi liturgy and even through the fate of his own corpse.

Dr Teemu Immonen is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Turku. His lecture addresses  the 11th-century church reform that gave birth to a particular form of Bible manuscript called Giant Bibles. Several central Italian examples of the genre include a prominent Creation frontispiece before the text of Genesis. Despite the wide scholarly interest that the frontispieces have generated, little attention has been paid to the function of the pictures at the beginning of the biblical text. The paper discusses what these images tell us about the attitudes of their makers towards the book, i.e. Bible, and more specifically towards the reading of the Bible. It addresses the question of the manner in which the images participate in the process of interpreting the text.

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