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Series:

Garrett P.J. Epp

Abstract

While the Wycliffite Tretise of Miraclis Pleyinge famously condemns religious theatre as sinful idleness and ‘signs without deed,’ biblical drama has the potential to be highly productive, as a form of performative theology. Much like the meditative mode of affective piety, likewise common in the later Middle Ages, when undertaken seriously by or for those who believe in what it represents, the performance of biblical drama can create rather than merely represent theological meaning. This paper examines a variety of texts and performances, medieval and modern, in order to demonstrate how religious belief and theatrical make-believe can intertwine.


Staging Scripture

Biblical Drama, 1350-1600

Series:

Edited by Peter Happé and Wim Hüsken

Against a background which included revolutionary changes in religious belief, extensive enlargement of dramatic styles and the technological innovation of printing, this collection of essays about biblical drama offers innovative approaches to text and performance, while reviewing some well-established critical issues. The Bible in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries appears in a complex of roles in relation to the drama: as an authority and centre of belief, a place of controversy, an emotional experience and, at times, a weapon. This collection brings into focus the new biblical learning, including the re-editing of biblical texts, as well as classical influences, and it gives a unique view of the relationship between the Bible and the drama at a critical time for both.

Contributors are: Stephanie Allen, David Bevington, Philip Butterworth, Sarah Carpenter, Philip Crispin, Clifford Davidson, Elisabeth Dutton, Garrett P. J. Epp, Bob Godfrey, Peter Happé, James McBain, Roberta Mullini, Katie Normington, Margaret Rogerson, Charlotte Steenbrugge, Greg Walker, and Diana Wyatt.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John Passion (BWV 245): A Theological Commentary

With a new Study Translation by Katherine Firth and a Preface by N. T. Wright

Series:

Andreas Loewe

This Theological Commentary is the first full-length work in English to consider Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John Passion in its entirety, both the words and the music. Bach’s oratorio is a globally popular musical work, and a significant expression of Lutheran theology.

The commentary explains the Biblical and poetic text, and its musical setting, line by line. Bach’s Passion is shown to be the work of a master craftsman and trained theologian, in the collaborative and cultural milieu of eighteenth-century, Lutheran Leipzig.

For the first time, this work makes much German scholarship available in English, including archival sources, and includes a new scholarly translation of the libretto. The musical and theological terms are explained, to enable an interdisciplinary understanding of the Passion’s meaning and continued significance.

Series:

Edited by Vasiliki Tsamakda

This volume offers an overview of Byzantine manuscript illustration, a central branch of Byzantine art and culture. Just like written texts, illustrations bear witness to Byzantine material culture, imperial ideology and religious beliefs, as well as to the development and spread of Byzantine art. In this sense illustrated books reflect the society that produced and used them. Being portable, they could serve as diplomatic gifts or could be acquired by foreigners. In such cases they became “emissaries” of Byzantine art and culture in Western Europe and the Arabic world.
The volume provides for the first time a comprehensive overview of the material, divided by text categories, including both secular and religious manuscripts, and analyses which texts were illustrated in Byzantium, and how.
Contributors are Justine M. Andrews, Leslie Brubaker, Annemarie W. Carr, Elina Dobrynina, Maria Evangelatou, Maria Laura Tomea Gavazzoli, Markos Giannoulis, Cecily Hennessy, Ioli Kalavrezou, Maja Kominko, Sofia Kotzabassi, Stavros Lazaris, Kallirroe Linardou, Vasileios Marinis, Kathleen Maxwell, Georgi R. Parpulov, Nancy P. Ševčenko, Jean-Michel Spieser, Mika Takiguchi, Courtney Tomaselli, Marina Toumpouri, Nicolette S. Trahoulia, Vasiliki Tsamakda, and Elisabeth Yota.

Series:

Peter Happé

Abstract

This essay is a comparison between ways of dramatizing the Resurrection in England and France. It establishes a core of items which are incorporated in many versions, short and long, as well as non-biblical elements which are frequently attached to the scriptural details. The experience of possible audiences who must have drawn upon existing recollected items is considered as well as the inclusion of musical and visual referents. The dramatic structure and development of the chosen plays are reviewed in order to illustrate the variety of the theatrical elements. Attention is paid to the reasons for including the Resurrection, which for some plays was a matter of defining, rehearsing or sustaining belief. Such material is relevant to the central item in Resurrection sequences, the moment when Christ rises from the tomb, and the way this is presented in the dramatic texts. The reticence with which this is treated is found to be one of the essential aspects of the dramatizations, which are largely influenced by versions in the Scriptures but are not entirely determined by them. This aspect of the plays is shown to be performed in ways which sustain the mystery inherent in it, and this is seen against a background of belief in what was familiar though it had a sustained spiritual reference.


Series:

Catherine Gines Taylor

increasingly clear that female imagery sent specific messages about who Christians were and how they were perceived within a larger social context. 5 The Council of Ephesus in 431 was convened primarily to determine the doctrine concerning Christ’s nature and ended by formally codifing orthodox belief over

Series:

Michael Bath

belief were a matter of individual conscience, under the guidance only of parish ministers subject to the authority of the church’s General Assembly. King James’s attempt to maintain some control over the national church by appointing bishops began in the 1580s, though it won little support from the

Series:

Catherine Gines Taylor

motif was associated with ascetic deprivation or that it necessarily negated beliefs in abundance, joy, prosperity, and stability promised by Christian salvation. Rather, Christian associations with spinning underlined a feminine identity that aligned daily life with holy delight in a way that

Series:

Catherine Gines Taylor

significant, then, that legal documentation relating to wives and mothers, regardless of religious affiliation, is consistent with social exemplarity. Christian women were empowered by their status as pious householders, which maintained their social status and could therefore help legitimize their beliefs

From Taboo to Icon

The Entrance to and the Exit from the Church in the First Three Greek Liturgical Commentaries (ca 500–730 CE)

Series:

Christian Boudignon

religion’. The editors (Meyer et al. (2010) 208) of Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief suggest that ‘scholars need to be asking how religion happens materially.’ 45 In Maximus, the doors were closed after the dismissal of the catechumens, a sign that the holy gifts could not be