Christian Art To Be The Subject Of Pruit Symposium Oct. 26-28

Oct. 19, 2000

Scholars from throughout the U.S. will examine the iconography, historical context and interpretive implications of Christian art during Baylor University's Pruit Memorial Symposium. "Interpreting Christian Art" will run from Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 26-28, in Roxy Grove Hall on campus.

According to Dr. Heidi J. Hornik, associate professor of art history and symposium co-director, this year's symposium will focus on topics that increasingly have been the subjects of discussion and contention among scholars, clergy and those in the art world.

"Through the participation of scholars, both theologians and art historians, we are trying to present different methods of understanding how Christian art was received at the time it was created and also what we gain from it today," she said.

Dr. Margaret R. Miles, the John Dillenberger Chair in Historical Theology at Graduate Theological Union, University of California at Berkeley, will deliver the symposium's keynote address, "Achieving the Christian Body: Visual Incentives to Imitation of Christ in the Christian West," at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26.

Miles taught for 18 years at Harvard Divinity School and served as president of the American Academy of Religion in 1998-1999. She is the author of "Image as Insight: Visual Understanding in Western Christianity and Social Reality"; "Plotinus on Body and Beauty: Society, Philosophy and Religion in Third Century Rome"; and "Desire and Delight: A New Reading of Augustine's Confessions."

Speaking on Friday, Oct. 27, will be Dr. Graydon Snyder of Chicago Theological Seminary; Dr. Robin M. Jensen, associate professor of history of Christianity and director of the Theology and the Arts program at Andover Newton Theological Seminary; Dr. Anthony Cutler, research professor of art history at Pennsylvania State University; Dr. Charles Barber, the Michael R. Grace Assistant Professor in Art History at the University of Notre Dame; and Dr. Paolo Berdini, assistant professor of art history at Stanford University.

On Oct. 28, the symposium will conclude with two addresses, "Luke and Pontormo: The 'Visitation' at SS. Annunziata, Florence" by Hornik and Dr. Mikeal C. Parsons, associate professor of religion at Baylor; and "What is Christian About Christian Art?" by Dr. John Wesley Cook, president of the Henry Luce Foundation.

"I recommend Dr. Cook's address especially for a lay audience," Hornik said. "His topic promises to be a wonderful summation and conclusion to the program, and I think it will be attractive to anyone having an interest in interpreting and understanding Christian art."

The Pruit Memorial Symposium is presented under the auspices of the Institute of Faith and Learning and was created with support from Mr. and Mrs. Lev. H. Prichard of Corpus Christi and his mother, the late Mrs. Helen Pruit Matthews. All symposium sessions are free and open to the public. For more information, call the Institute for Faith and Learning at (254) 710-4805 or visit www.baylor.edu/~IFL/events.htm .

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