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The Edinburgh Companion to the Bible and the Arts

Edited by Stephen Prickett


An authoritative assessment of the changing relationship between the Bible and the arts

In this unique Companion, 35 scholars, from world-famous to just beginning, explore the role of the Bible in art and of artistic motifs in the Bible. Specially commissioned chapters demonstrate that just as the arts have portrayed biblical stories in a variety of ways and media over the centuries, so what we call ‘the’ Bible is not actually a single entity but has been composed of fiercely contested translations of texts in many languages, whose selection has depended historically on a variety of cultural pressures, theological, social, and, not least, aesthetic.

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List of Illustrations
List of Contributors
1. Introduction, Stephen Prickett
2. ‘What has Athens to do with Jerusalem ?’ The Biblical Chain-Gang, Stephen Prickett
3. Hebrew Aesthetics and Jewish Biblical Exegesis, Mordechai Z. Cohen
4. Migne’s Achievement and the Modern Transmission of Ancient Manuscripts, Dan Williams
5. Augustine on Beauty: a Biblical Aesthetics, David Lyle Jeffrey
6. Sublimity and Resistance to Form in the Early Modern Bible, Anthony Ossa-Richardson
7. ‘A Babel of Bibles’: Aesthetics, Translation and Interpretation since 1885, Nicholas Bielby
8. Lest the Story be Lost: Biblical Fiction, David Dickinson
9. The Bible and Phenomenology, Kevin Hart
10. The Gospel of John in Early Christian Art, Robin Margaret Jensen
11. Images of Conflict: the art of Anti-Judaism in Fifth Century Rome, Geri Parlby
12. A Shared Tradition: The Decorated Pages of Medieval Bibles and Qur’ans, Vivian B. Mann
13. Speaking Pictures: Mediaeval Religious Art and its Viewers, Charles Moseley
14. The Iconography of the Cross as the Tree of Life, Christopher Irvine
15. Art and the Resurrection Narrative, Christopher Herbert
16. Covenants and Connections: the Sassetti Chapel at Santa Trinita, Chloë Reddaway
17. Who Framed Bathsheba? Vivienne Westbrook
18. The Fresco Decoration in the Sistine Chapel: Biblical Authority and the Church of Rome, Shirley Smith
19. The Materiality and Iconography of the Coverdale Bible (1535), Mark Rankin and Guido Latré
20. Moses in Eighteenth Century Art, Nigel Aston
21. Blake: Text and Image, Christopher Rowland
22. The Angel in the Detail: Pre-Raphaelite Stained Glass, Christopher Rogers
23. Framing the Vision: Biblical Imagery in the Work of Van Gogh, Daphne Lawson
24. Coventry Cathedral: Conception and Reality, Sarah Hosking
25. Hymns of the Wesleys, J.R. Watson
26. The Bible Interpreted by Hymns, Robin Gill
27. The Art of Unveiling: Biblical Apocalypse, Christopher Burdon
28. The Divine Comedy as the Word of God, Patricia Erskine-Hill
29. The Mediaeval Bible as Literature, Alastair Minnis & Andrew Kraebel
30. Homer Writes Back: Rhetorical Art and Biblical Epic Justice in Paradise Lost, Book 1, Phillip Donnelly
31. Heart-Deep: The Psalms and George Herbert, Christopher Hodgkins
32. From Virtue to Goodness: Biblical Values in Victorian Literature, Jan-Melissa Schramm
33. The Mirror of the Law of Liberty: Reflecting the Hidden Christ in George Macdonald’s Lilith, Bethany Bear
34. Images of the Creator/Creation from Frankenstein to Nietzsche, Norbert Lennartz
35. Eliot Among the Theologians, Jan Gorak
36. Imitatio Pilati et Christi in Modern Historical Drama, James Alexander.

About the Author

Stephen Prickett is Regius Professor Emeritus of English, at the University of Glasgow and honorary Professor of English at the University of Kent, Canterbury. He has also taught at the Universities of Sussex, the Australian National University in Canberra, Duke University, and Baylor University, where he was Director of the Armstrong Browning Library. He has published one novel, nine monographs, seven edited volumes, and over ninety articles on Romanticism, Victorian Studies and literature and theology.


The vital and continuing relationship between the Bible and the Arts is amply demonstrated in this collection of remarkably wide-ranging essays and text-specific illustrations. General readers will enjoy its accessibly-presented, fresh perspectives, while scholars will wish to keep this treasure-house of illuminating scholarship close at hand.

- Elisabeth Jay, Oxford Brookes University

A companion of great range and depth

- Paul Ellingworth, METHODIST RECORDER
The subject may be vast, but this collection is an invaluable contribution, which lends light on the mysterious, beautiful, and profound ways the arts and the Bible have informed each other and how together they help us understand the “human situation” more fully.
- Michael Heath, Columbia sc, Religion and the Arts

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