Lectures: Medieval Missals | Theology & Art

Research Colloquium: 7 February 2017, Oude Boteringestraat 34, room 002, from 5 to 7 p.m.

 

Politics and Mass Media: Medieval Missals in the Beneventan Zone

Andrew J.M. Irving

“To restore an edifice,” wrote Viollet-le-Duc “is not to maintain it, nor to repair it, nor remake it, but to re-establish it in a complete state in which it may never have existed at any given moment.” This paper re-examines the evidence of design features of mass books produced at the Abbey of Montecassino in the early Middle Ages. A deliberate, “restorationist” initiative in mass book production on the part of the abbot is identified and set in relief against the broader context of the production of missals at the Abbey and elsewhere in Southern Italy, and its causes and implications are explored.

Andrew Irving (PhD, Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame, 2012) is Assistant Professor of Religion and Cultural Heritage at the University of Groningen. After completing his dissertation on gospel book manuscripts of Montecassino, he has contributed articles on manuscript studies, medical, and liturgical history to Scriptorium, Archiv für Liturgiewissenschaft, Bibliografia dei Manoscritti in Scrittura Beneventana, and Worship, and he has recently submitted chapters describing urban processions in early twelfth-century Benevento, and on fourteenth- and fifteenth-century priests’ manuals. In 2012-2013 he was post-doctoral research associate at Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music, and in 2015-2016 was a post-doctoral research assistant for a Notre Dame project on the Distichs of Cato, based at the Cologne Centre for eHumanities.

 

Material Religion and ‘Monumental Theology’ – Since When do Theologians Care for Art?

Stefanie Lenk

Religious Studies and Theology, then as now, struggle to make art and material culture a focus of their disciplines, despite religious institutions using and producing images, objects and buildings throughout the centuries. Luther’s dictum of the true experience of God being non-visual and best mediated by words was perpetuated by Protestant aesthetics like those of Kant and Hegel, and seems to influence academic thinking still. Publisher of the series ‘Iconography of Religions’ and the yearbook ‘Visible Religion’, the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of Groningen has taken since the 1970’s another trajectory, trying to reconcile religion and the visual. This talk traces the occupation of theologians with art back to 19th century Germany. It shows that theologians took material religion seriously enough to set up a now forgotten research discipline called ‘Monumental Theology’. It further argues that it was, perhaps surprisingly, the Protestant theologian Schleiermacher whose concept of ‘Anschauung’ (‘contemplation through looking’) set this process in motion.

Stefanie Lenk is a curator at the British Museum, London, working with the Empires of Faith research project (University of Oxford) on late antique religious art from a cross-cultural perspective. In her PhD she asks why pre-Christian imagery was used to decorate baptisteries of the 5th and 6th century Western Mediterranean. Stefanie is currently curating the Empires of Faith exhibition (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 19 October 2017-19 February 2018). The exhibition looks at the creation of religious imagery from India to Ireland in the first millennium AD which has formed our understanding of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. With four EoF colleagues, she co-authored the volume Images of Mithra that examines the formation of the iconography of the deity Mithra across different religious traditions (OUP, 2017).

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