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Islam and Iconoclasm

Ibrāhīm and the Destruction of Idols in the Qurʾān

Leyla Ozgur Alhassen


In the Qurʾān, Ibrāhīm is portrayed as breaking the idols that his people worship (21:51–73), a story that comes at the crossroads of a number of ethical issues, including the freedom of belief. In this study, I examine the issue through a number of different lenses: Qurʾānic commentary (tafsīr on the story), art history (Islam, art and iconoclasm), legal opinions (jurisprudence), philosophical approaches (civil disobedience), and literary analysis (focused on idolatry and Ibrāhīm in the Qurʾān). In looking at the issue from these various perspectives, I argue that analyzing the story as a form of civil disobedience, while using literary analysis, lends new insights and gives modern readers tools with which to bridge some of the moral and ethical issues at play in the story of Ibrāhīm breaking his people’s idols.

Stefano Muneroni


The 2014 staging and publication of Jonathan Moore’s play Inigo offers a unique commentary on the relationship between acting and spirituality within the Society of Jesus, the official name of the Jesuit Order. Through a close analysis of Moore’s play, this article contends that Jesuit spirituality draws on performative skills to inspire exemplary behavior and foster an embodied and long-lasting response to devotional narratives. In probing post-secular readings of hagiographical drama, the author considers the reasons for the ongoing fascination exerted by saints as stage characters in contemporary plays and argues that the success of Inigo is due to its humanistic reconfiguration of the notions of sanctity, faith, and redemption, as well as to its understanding of sainthood as the result of answering a religious and artistic vocation.

The Origin of Korean Church Architecture

Arrangement, Space, and Daylight in the Korean Hanok

John So


This article examines the characteristics of Korean church architecture from the perspective of the hanok (the traditional Korean house). Previously, Western commentators criticized Korean church architecture as not reflecting a theological ideology and lacking a consistent architectural style. However, examining Korean church architecture through the lens of Western church architecture does not allow for the adequate appreciation or understanding of this form. This study, therefore, considers the development of Korean churches through an examination of the hanok, including floor plans, the concept of spatial expansion, and attitudes toward daylight. In addition, gender-based seating arrangements, the horizontal extension of space, and windows that admit horizontal daylight also reflect common aspects of the hanok. Beyond showing how a distinctly Korean church architecture developed over time, these characteristics also demonstrate the central role of women and the congregation in Korean churches, in contrast to the clergy-centric design of Western churches.