The Beauty of the Cross

The Beauty of the Cross : The Passion of Christ in Theology and the Arts from the Catacombs to the Eve of the Renaissance

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As the success of Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ, has forcefully reminded us, the suffering and death of Christ have traditionally been seen as an appropriate focus for Christian devotion. Although the earliest Christians avoided pictorial images, the cross would soon become the dominant symbol of the faith. The first depictions of the Crucifixion were triumphalist, but over time more realistic images became common. Despite the horror of Crucifixion, however, we often find such pictures beautiful. It is an apparent paradox that some of the great monuments of Western art are representations of the brutal torture and execution of Christ. In this book Richard Viladesau seeks to understand the beauty of the cross as it developed in both theology and art from the early Christian era through the high middle ages. He argues that art and symbolism functioned as an alternative strand of theological expression-sometimes parallel to, sometimes interwoven with, and sometimes in tension with formal theological reflection on the meaning of the Crucifixion and its role in salvation history. In this, the first of an envisioned two-volume work, Viladesau focuses on poetry and the visual arts. The second volume will pursue the topic up to the present day and will draw primarily on music and more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 152.4 x 236.2 x 25.4mm | 476.28g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 019518811X
  • 9780195188110
  • 1,444,286

Review quote

a unique and profitable contribution ... This book is a great resource for pastors, theologians, students, and all who desire a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the cross. * Jeremy R. Treat, Themelios * This is a fascinating investigation centred on the interplay of thought and feeling, of word and art, of understanding and emotion which lies at the heart of the Christian faith. * Contemporary Review * A fine book. * International Review of Biblical Studies *show more

About Richard Viladesau

Richard Viladesau is Professor of Theology at Fordham University. He is the author of Theological Aesthetics (OUP 1999).show more

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