By David Nirenberg
Via such a lot of Western eu heritage, Jews were a numerically tiny or totally absent minority, yet throughout that heritage Europeans have still frightened very much approximately Judaism. Why may still that be so? This brief yet powerfully argued publication means that Christian anxieties approximately their very own transcendent beliefs made Judaism a big instrument for Christianity, as an apocalyptic religion—characterized through prizing soul over flesh, the religious over the literal, the heavenly over the actual world—came to phrases with the inescapable value of physique, language, and fabric issues during this international.
Nirenberg indicates how turning the Jew right into a personification of worldly over non secular matters, floor over internal that means, allowed cultures prone towards transcendence to appreciate even their so much materialistic practices as religious. concentrating on artwork, poetry, and politics—three actions in particular condemned as worldly in early Christian culture—he finds how, during the last thousand years, those actions however increased the opportunity of their very own life inside Christian tradition simply because they have been used to symbolize Judaism. Nirenberg attracts on an astonishingly varied selection of poets, painters, preachers, philosophers, and politicians to reconstruct the jobs performed via representations of Jewish “enemies” within the production of Western artwork, tradition, and politics, from the traditional global to the current day.
This erudite and tightly argued survey of the ways that Christian cultures have created themselves by way of brooding about Judaism will entice the broadest diversity of students of faith, artwork, literature, political conception, media thought, and the historical past of Western civilization extra generally.
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Extra info for Aesthetic Theology and Its Enemies: Judaism in Christian Painting, Poetry, and Politics
They retain the potential to do so, even as they understand themselves to be striving toward peace, love, and justice. Can a political theology love its enemies? Can an aesthetic theology overcome the alienations it itself produces? 14 ch a pt e r on e Painting between Christianity & Judaism A The Lust of the Eyes ccustomed as we are to churches and museums overflowing with Christian images, it is easy to forget that across the centuries many Christians have considered the plastic arts perilous.
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Aesthetic Theology and Its Enemies: Judaism in Christian Painting, Poetry, and Politics by David Nirenberg