New Book | The Forge of Vision: A Visual History of Modern Christianity

Posted in books by Editor on December 24, 2015

From the University of California Press:

David Morgan, The Forge of Vision: A Visual History of Modern Christianity (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2015), 407 pages, ISBN: 978-0520286955, $40 / £28.

9780520286955Religions teach their adherents how to see and feel at the same time; learning to see is not a disembodied process but one hammered from the forge of human need, social relations, and material practice. David Morgan argues that the history of religions may therefore be studied through the lens of their salient visual themes. The Forge of Vision tells the history of Christianity from the sixteenth century through the present by selecting the visual themes of faith that have profoundly influenced its development. After exploring how distinctive Catholic and Protestant visual cultures emerged in the early modern period, Morgan examines a variety of Christian visual practices, ranging from the imagination, visions of nationhood, the likeness of Jesus, the material life of words, and the role of modern art as a spiritual quest, to the importance of images for education, devotion, worship, and domestic life. An insightful, informed presentation of how Christianity has shaped and continues to shape the modern world, this work is a must-read for scholars and students across fields of religious studies, history, and art history.

David Morgan is Professor of Religious Studies at Duke University, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies. He is the author of The Embodied Eye: Religious Visual Culture and the Social Life of Feeling and The Sacred Gaze: Religious Visual Culture in Theory and Practice, and coeditor of the journal Material Religion.

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List of Illustrations


I  Word and Image
1  The Shape of the Holy
2  The Visible Word

II  The Traffic of Images
3  Religion as Sacred Economy
4  The Agency of Words
5  Christianity and Nationhood
6  The Likeness of Jesus
7  Modern Art and Christianity


Selected Bibliography

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