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Modern Jewish Art

Definitions, Problems, and Opportunities

Ori Z. Soltes

Abstract

In Modern Jewish Art: Definitions, Problems, and Opportunities, Ori Z. Soltes considers both the emerging and evolving discussion on and the expanding array of practitioners of ‘Jewish art’ in the past two hundred years. He notes the developing problem of how to define ‘Judaism’ in the 19th century—as a religion, a culture, a race, a nation, a people—and thus the complications for placing ‘Jewish art’ under the extended umbrella of ‘religion and the arts.’ The fluidity with which one must engage the subject is reflected in the broadening conceptual and visual vocabulary, the extended range of subject foci and media, and the increasingly rich analytical approaches to the subject that have surfaced particularly in the past fifty years. Well-known and little-known artists are included in a far-ranging discussion of painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation art, ceremonial objects, and works that blur the boundaries between categories.

Kimerer L. LaMothe

Abstract

The relationship between religion and dance is as old as humankind. Contemporary methods for studying this relationship date back a century. The difference between these two time frames is significant: scholars are still developing theories and methods capable of illuminating this vast history that take account of their limited place within it. A History of Theory and Method in the Study of Religion and Dance takes on a primary challenge of doing so: overcoming a conceptual dichotomy between “religion” and “dance” forged in the colonial era that justified western Christian hostility towards dance traditions across six continents over six centuries. Beginning with its enlightenment roots, LaMothe narrates a selective history of this dichotomy, revealing its ongoing work in separating dance studies from religious studies. Turning to the Bushmen of the African Kalahari, LaMothe introduces an ecokinetic approach that provides scholars with conceptual resources for mapping the generative interdependence of phenomena that appear as “dance” and/or “religion.”

Urmila Mohan

Abstract

In Clothing as Devotion in Contemporary Hinduism, Urmila Mohan explores the materiality and visuality of cloth and clothing as devotional media in contemporary Hinduism. Drawing upon ethnographic research into the global missionizing group “International Society for Krishna Consciousness” (ISKCON), she studies translocal spaces of worship, service, education, and daily life in the group’s headquarters in Mayapur and other parts of India. Focusing on the actions and values of deity dressmaking, devotee clothing and paraphernalia, Mohan shows how activities, such as embroidery and chanting, can be understood as techniques of spirituality, reverence, allegiance—and she proposes the new term “efficacious intimacy” to help understand these complex processes. The monograph brings theoretical advances in Anglo-European material culture and material religion studies into a conversation with South Asian anthropology, sociology, art history, and religion. Ultimately, it demonstrates how embodied interactions as well as representations shape ISKCON’s practitioners as devout subjects, while connecting them with the divine and the wider community.

Lieke Wijnia

Abstract

Beyond the Return of Religion: Art and the Postsecular explores the conceptual potential of the postsecular for investigations of (late) modern art and religion. Indicating a public co-existence and merging of religion and the secular, the postsecular is approached as an alternative to the return of religion narrative. Rather than framing artistic concerns with religion as a recurrence after temporary absence, it is argued how the postsecular allows for seeing the interaction between art and religion as enduring, albeit transforming relationship of mutual nature. Whereas secularization theories are intrinsically connected to modernity, the postsecular requires a pluralized perspective, covering the processes of secularization, diversification, and spiritualization. The postsecular reinforces the interconnectedness of these processes, which are, in turn, embodied in the concept’s interdisciplinary nature. While this essay predominantly focuses on visual art and its institutional context of the museum, the postsecular has interdisciplinary relevance for broader artistic and academic disciplines.

Diane Apostolos-Cappadona

Abstract

In Religion and the Arts: History and Method, Diane Apostolos-Cappadona presents an overview of the 19th century origins of this discrete field of study and its methodological journey to the present-day through issues of repatriation, museum exhibitions, and globalization. Apostolos-Cappadona suggests that the fluidity and flexibility of the study of religion and the arts has expanded like an umbrella since the 1970s—and the understanding that art was simply a visual exegesis of texts—to now support the study of material, popular, and visual culture, as well as gender. She also delivers a careful analysis of the evolution of thought from traditional iconographies to the transformations once scholars were influenced by response theory and challenged by globalization and technology. Religion and the Arts: History and Method offers an indispensable introduction to the questions and perspectives essential to the study of this field.

Andrew T. Coates

Abstract

What is Protestant Art? offers a brief introduction to the field of Protestant visual culture. It argues that the diversity of images and visual practices throughout Protestant history might better be described by the term ‘visual culture’ than the term ‘art.’ Examining images from the Reformation to the twentieth century, this review essay showcases the breadth of ways Protestants have put images to work in their religious practices. Containing dozens of illustrations, What is Protestant Art? provides the reader with an overview of current research on Protestant visual culture, as well as discussions of representative examples from five hundred years of Protestant imagery.

Editor-in-Chief Diane Apostolos-Cappadona

Brill Research Perspectives in Religion and the Arts presents extended reference articles on topics within the comprehensive field of world religions and the arts, from the traditional fine arts to newer fields of visual culture and material culture. References will be hyperlinked to original source materials when possible, offering both scholars and students the opportunity to stay current with the literature or to begin their research. Written as a single-author monograph with accompanying critical bibliography, each 50 to 100 page article provides an overview of the specific topic, its history within the larger discipline of religion and the arts, recent innovations in scholarship, critical commentary, and the unique analysis of the author's perspectives.

Edited by Gert Melville, Martial Staub, Francis G. Gentry and Timothy Barnwell

The two-volume Brill's Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages offers an accessible yet engaging coverage of medieval European history and culture, c. 500-c. 1500, in a series of themed articles, taking an interdisciplinary and comparative approach. Presenting a broad range of topics current in research, the encyclopedia is dedicated to all aspects of medieval life, organized in eight sections: Society; Faith and Knowledge; Literature; Fine Arts and Music; Economy; Technology; Living Environments and Conditions; and Constitutive Historical Events and Regions. This thematic structure makes the encyclopedia a true reference work for Medieval Studies as a whole. It is accessible and concise enough for quick reference, while also providing a solid grounding in a new topic with a good level of detail, since many of its articles are longer than traditional encyclopedia entries. The encyclopedia is supported by an extensive bibliography, updated with the most recent works and adapted to suit the needs of an Anglophone audience.

Brill's Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages is a unique work, and invaluable equally for research and for teaching. Anyone interested in the art, architecture, economy, history, language, law, literature, music, religion, or science of the Middle Ages, will find the encyclopedia an indispensable resource.

This is an English translation of the second edition (2013) of the well-known German-language Enzyklopädie des Mittelalters, published by Primus Verlag / Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.

Also available online as part of Brill's Medieval Reference Library Online.

Series:

Edited by Nicholas S.M. Matheou, Theofili Kampianaki and Lorenzo M. Bondioli

From Constantinople to the Frontier: The City and the Cities provides twenty-five articles addressing the concept of centres and peripheries in the late antique and Byzantine worlds, focusing specifically on urban aspects of this paradigm. Spanning from the fourth to thirteenth centuries, and ranging from the later Roman empires to the early Caliphate and medieval New Rome, the chapters reveal the range of factors involved in the dialectic between City, cities, and frontier.
Including contributions on political, social, literary, and artistic history, and covering geographical areas throughout the central and eastern Mediterranean, this volume provides a kaleidoscopic view of how human actions and relationships worked with, within, and between urban spaces and the periphery, and how these spaces and relationships were themselves ideologically constructed and understood.
Contributors are Walter F. Beers, Lorenzo M. Bondioli, Christopher Bonura, Lynton Boshoff, Averil Cameron, Jeremiah Coogan, Robson Della Torre, Pavla Drapelova, Nicholas Evans, David Gyllenhaal, Franka Horvat, Theofili Kampianaki, Maximilian Lau, Valeria Flavia Lovato, Byron MacDougall, Nicholas S.M. Matheou, Daniel Neary, Jonas Nilsson, Cecilia Palombo, Maria Alessia Rossi, Roman Shliakhtin, Sarah C. Simmons, Andrew M. Small, Jakub Sypiański, Vincent Tremblay and Philipp Winterhager.

Chet Van Duzer and Ilya Dines