L. DeAne Lagerquist: Visual Exegesis: Reading the Bible with Artists

Extended Description:  That works of art, whether visual or literary, repay sustained and repeated attention is a fundamental premise of this exploration of biblical stories. Expert biblical or art historical knowledge is neither assumed nor required. All that is needed is willingness to read the texts and look at images slowly and carefully in pursuit of expanded understanding of the biblical passage and its meanings.

Each week we will focus on one (or more) biblical passages and several artists’ responses, informed by contemporary biblical scholarship. In preparation I suggest that participants read the text(s) in one modern, English translation. (The New Revised Standard Version is the one most often used by biblical scholars.) Sometimes reading additional translations, in English or another language, will yield further insights and/or provoke questions. In a weekly email I will provide links to related images, access to at least one scholarly treatment of the text, often addressing artists’ response to the text, and suggestions about discussion topics.  Often, I’ll also suggest additional, optional resources.

(Tentative) Schedule:

Week 1 Getting started: what is visual exegesis?

Week 2 Graphic (Sequential) Art.

Week 3 Who is reading/looking?

  • Genesis 16, 21:1-21, Galatians 4:21-29
  • Wilma Bailey, “Black and Jewish Women Consider Hagar,” Encounter 63 no 1 – 2 Wint – Spr 2002, p 37-44
  •  J. Cheryl Exum, “The Accusing Look: The Abjection of Hagar in Art,Religion and the Arts 11 (2007) 143-171.

Week 4 Moving Pictures

Week 5 Picturing Trauma

Week 6 Images, Announcements, and Icons

  • Luke 1:26-56
  • Emily Hage, “Making the Modern Divine: the Image of Henry Ossawa Tanner,” America, 206 no 9 Mar 19 2012, p 19-21.  Or another? Embarking on a New Covenant: Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Spiritual Crisis of 1896

Week 7 Imagination Across Traditions

Week 8 Imagining a New Thing

  • Acts 2:1-41 or Revelation 21-22:5
  • TBD