The Iconography of Job Through the Centuries: Artists as Biblical Interpreters

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9780271015286: The Iconography of Job Through the Centuries: Artists as Biblical Interpreters

Do artists who deal with biblical scenes study the texts that inspire them? At the same time, do scholars pay attention to artists as biblical interpreters? Eminent biblical scholar Samuel Terrien seeks to answer these questions in this first ever comprehensive survey of Jobian iconography from the third century to modern times. Through an analysis of the varying depictions of Job he finds that artists were not usually subservient to directives of religious authorities; rather, they often contradicted or preceded the exegetical trends of these commentators.

Terrien has selected more than 150 masterpieces from the approximate 800 images of Job that have escaped oblivion. His vast knowledge of the biblical text illumines the rich discussion, which ranges over artistic medium and time from the fresco of the Dura-Europos synagogue, the miniatures of the Patmos manuscript, the Doge Dandolo mosaic of the San Marco Baptistry in Venice, the mercy seats of Champeaux-en-Brie, the Sacra Allegoria of Giovannni Bellini in Florence, and Albrecht Dürer's Jabach Altarpiece in Cologne and Frankfurt, to the mystery soldier in Salvator Rosas Job in the Uffizi and the Job Geometricized à la Cimabuë by Marc Chagall in St.-Paul-de-Vence.

This rich interdisciplinary work reveals for the first time that Jobian artists saw in the ancient hero not only the prophet of a new life or the model of revolt and faith but also—and surprisingly—the intercessor of sexual reprobates, the patron saint of musicians, and, in modern times, the existential man.

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About the Author:

Samuel Terrien is Davenport Professor of Hebrew and the Cognate Languages, Emeritus, at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University. His many books include The Magnificat: Musicians as Biblical Interpreters (1995), Till the Heart Sings: A Biblical Theology of Manhood and Womanhood (1985), and The Elusive Presence: Toward a New Biblical Theology (1978).

Review:

“A remarkable book. . . . Terrien's commentary demonstrates not only his profound grasp of the biblical subject and its possibilities for interpretation, but also the scope of his knowledge of history and the stamp that history leaves on the artifacts that survive it. He reads the art with the same insight with which he reads the biblical text, conscious of the human drama depicted there. The collection sketches the face of human suffering through the ages. Terrien's reflections help us to understand some of the causes of that suffering, and to marvel at the human spirit that has refused to be crushed by it.”
Theological Studies

“This is a work of enormous erudition, artistic insight, and biblical expertise. Only Samuel Terrien could bring it off.”
The Catholic Biblical Quarterly

“This is a work of enormous erudition, artistic insight, and biblical expertise. Only Samuel Terrien could bring it off.”

The Catholic Biblical Quarterly

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Terrien, Samuel
Published by Penn State University Press (1996)
ISBN 10: 0271015284 ISBN 13: 9780271015286
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Book Description Penn State University Press, 1996. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110271015284

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