The Power of Pictures in Christian Thought: An Investigation into the Use and Abuse of Images in the Bible and Theology-Past and Present
The Power of Pictures in Christian Thought: An Investigation into the Use and Abuse of Images in the Bible and Theology-Past and Present  -     By: Anthony C. Thiselton
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InterVarsity Press / 2018 / Paperback
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The Power of Pictures in Christian Thought: An Investigation into the Use and Abuse of Images in the Bible and Theology-Past and Present

InterVarsity Press / 2018 / Paperback

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Product Description

One of the great evangelical theologians of our day tackles the controversial issue of visual images and the power of the gospel. What should be considered an accurate representation of a Bible story? How do distortions border on idolatry or heresy? Fascinating case studies provide substantive guidance for artists, preachers, and spiritual directors. 272 pages, softcover. SPCK.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 272
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2018
ISBN: 0281078866
ISBN-13: 9780281078868

Publisher's Description

Written by one of the world's most eminent and widely respected evangelical theologians, this is the first substantial book by a Christian philosopher to examine the power of pictures in Christian thought—from biblical times to the present. Full of fascinating case studies, this book reflects on the use and abuse of imagery in the Bible, in the history of Christian thought, and in preaching and prayer today. Part One considers key philosophical and aesthetic evaluations of literary images and symbols. The power of pictures is widely appreciated, as in the adage "a picture is worth a thousand words." Sometimes Christian discourse can be smothered by endless prose, which demands much inferential reasoning. There is, however, a contrary argument. An isolated visual representation can be misleading if it is improperly interpreted. For example, some mystical visions are interpreted as direct instructions from the Holy Spirit, as happened with the Radical Reformers, who advocated the Peasants' Revolt. Hence theories of symbol, metaphor, and visual representation must be examined. Part Two discusses visual representation in the Old Testament, the teaching of Jesus, pictures and analogies in Paul, and the Book of Revelation. This shows the range of authentic visual representations. In contrast to biblical material, we find throughout Christian history abundant examples of misleading imagery which is often passed off as Christian. A notorious example is found in the visual representation and metaphors used by Gnostic writers. Almost as bad are some visual representations used by the medieval mystics, Radical Reformers, and extreme charismatics—all of which lack valid criteria of interpretation, relying instead on subjective conviction. Similarly, sermons and prayers today can be enriched with pictorial images, but some can be misleading and unhelpful for the life of the Church.

Author Bio

Anthony C. Thiselton is emeritus professor of Christian theology at the University of Nottingham and a fellow of the British Academy. His recent publications include , , , , and .

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