Hand Outs: The Bible in Art

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Hand out: Symbolism in Christianity

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Recommended Reading:

Wonder Beyond Belief;

On Christianity

by Navid Kermani

What happens when one of Germany’s most important writers, himself a Muslim, immerses himself in the world of Christian art? In this book, Navid Kermani is awestruck by a religion full of sacrifice and lamentation, love and wonder, the irrational and unfathomable, the deeply human and the divine – a Christianity that today’s Christians rarely speak of so earnestly, boldly and enthusiastically.

With the open-minded curiosity of a non-believer, Navid Kermani engages with Christian art in its great richness and diversity. The result is an enchanting set of reflectionswhich re-invest in Christianity both its spectacular beauty and its terror. Kermanistruggles with the cross, falls in love at the sight of Mary, experiences the OrthodoxMass and appreciates the greatness of St Francis. He teaches us to see the questionsof our present-day lives in the pictures of old masters such as Botticelli, Caravaggioand Rembrandt – not with lectures on art history or theology, but with an intelligent eyefor the essential details and the underlying relations to seemingly remote worlds, toliterature and to mystical Islam. Kermani’s poetic school of seeing draws us in as weare carried along by his unique perspective on Christianity, re-igniting our interest ingreat art at the same time. We are captivated by his unique and brilliant Islamic readingof the West.