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God, Cosmos, and Humankind: The World of Early Christian Symbolism

Ladner, Gerhart B.; translated by Thomas Dunlap

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ISBN 10: 0520085493 / ISBN 13: 9780520085497
Published by University of California Press, Berkeley, 1995
New Condition: New Hardcover
From Tiber Books (Cockeysville, MD, U.S.A.)

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. . . . 8vo, hardcover. NEW in dust jacket. Bright, crisp & clean, unread; dj glossy. vii, 334 p., illus. (some color). Translation of: Handbuch der fruhchristlichen Symbolik. Bookseller Inventory # 1140421.38

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Bibliographic Details

Title: God, Cosmos, and Humankind: The World of ...

Publisher: University of California Press, Berkeley

Publication Date: 1995

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

About this title


A work of remarkable scholarship and great conceptual range, God, Cosmos, and Humankind is the final book by one of the world's preeminent authorities on Medieval history and religion. A bold synthesis of art and intellectual history and the history of religion, it will certainly become recognized as the definitive study of symbolism during the first five hundred years of Christianity.

The early Christians, as Gerhart Ladner shows, lived in a world where everything was seen to be both real and representative of something else, mainly God. Drawing on a wealth of primary materials—including the works of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, a disciple of the apostle Paul, and the mystical zoologist Physiologus—Ladner interprets for a modern audience the myriad of symbols used in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages. In doing so, he provides an essential key not only to the artwork but to the entire worldview of the period.

Under three broad categories—the symbolism of theology, of the cosmos, and of humankind—the author maps the complete system of symbols by which the early Christians conceived of and gave order to their existence. We learn, for instance, that fire and water could mean both life and death and why three and seven were considered perfect numbers. Throughout, Ladner grounds his discussion with references to extant art, illustrations of which are interspersed liberally with the text.

From the Back Cover:

"A marvelous book, lucid in its structure and superb in the wonderfully compressed presentation of individual topics. . . . It will certainly be recognized as a classic." (Robert L. Benson, University of California, Los Angeles)

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