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Invisible God: The Earliest Christians on Art (Paul Corby Finney) Paperback Book, (Oxford University Press, 1994) 9780195113815
Invisible God: The Earliest Christians on Art (Paul Corby Finney) Paperback Book, (Oxford University Press, 1994) 9780195113815
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Title: The Invisible God: The Earliest Christians on Art

Author: Finney, Paul Corby

Publisher: Oxford University Press; Publication Date: 1994

Paperback; ISBN: 9780195113815

Volumes: 1; Pages: 352

List Price in Paper: $53.00 Our price: $48.99

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This revisionist study challenges the received opinion that in its earliest manifestations Christianity was a form of religiosity opposed both on principle and in fact to the use of pictures. Paul Corby Finney argues that the well-known absence of Christian pictures before A.D. 200 is due to a complex interplay of social, economic, and political factors, and is not, as is commonly assumed, a result of an anti-image ideology. The book documents the origins of Christian art based on some of the oldest surviving Christian archaeological evidence, and it seeks to show how the Christian products conformed to the already-existing pagan types and models. This study will interest scholars and students in the fields of church history, ancient history, archaeology, art history, classics, and historical theology.CONTENTSAbbreviations 1 The History of Interpretation 2 The Apologists' Attack on Greek Art: History and Literature 3 The Content of the Attack on Greek Art 4 The Emperor's Image 5 Christianity Before 200: Invisibility and Adaptation 6 The Earliest Christian Art 7 Invisible Divinity and Visible Religion Selected Bibliography Illustration Credits IndexREVIEWS"This book is the fruit of many years of work by a scholar who is equally at home in the history and literature of the Early Church and in the art and archeology of the surviving monuments. Finney asks basic and searching questions concerning the process whereby Christian art came into being and explores them in depth."--Ernst Kitzinger"Strong erudition and detailed illustration of his thesis bolster Finney's impressive work."--The Bible Today"Finney's work rightly shatters some paradigms and offers significant new insights into the nature and function of early Christian art. Because Finney is so well versed in both early Christian literature and art history he is the right person to do both. This is a ground-breaking work whose thesis should supplant all earlier scholarship on the matter of Christian attitudes toward the visual arts. As a dedicated student of Christian iconography, I feel as if someone has cleared a lot of old dead wood off the land, and made it ready to receive the seeds of new, fresh speculations."--Christian Spirituality Bulletin"Impressive and meticulous. ... The work is a model of clarity and precision and deserves to be read and argued about by everyone interested in the Late Antique and rhetoric."--Archaeological News"The Invisible God is an important book, a fresh and long-needed reexamination of a range of issues in early Christian art and a challenge... to a number of prevailing assumptions in the field. It deserves the attention of classicists, students of art, historians of late antiquity, and patristic scholars. It should be a staple of any college or university library."--New England Classical Newsletter and Journal
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