Religious Art
Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering
Silence and Beauty
Hidden Faith Born of Suffering
Hardcover      ISBN: 0830844597
  • 2017 Logos Bookstore Association Award for Christianity/Culture
  • 2017 Dallas Willard Center Book Award Finalist
  • Foreword INDIES 2016 Book of the Year Awards Finalist
  • World Magazine's Best Books of 2016 Short List
  • 2016 Aldersgate Prize by the John Wesley Honors College at Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Top Shelf Book Cover Award
  • 14th Annual Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year, Counseling and Relationships
  • Missio Alliance Essential Reading List of 2016

Shusaku Endo's novel Silence, first published in 1966, endures as one of the greatest works of twentieth-century Japanese literature. Its narrative of the persecution of Christians in seventeenth-century Japan raises uncomfortable questions about God and the ambiguity of faith in the midst of suffering and hostility. Endo's Silence took internationally renowned visual artist Makoto Fujimura on a pilgrimage of grappling with the nature of art, the significance of pain and his own cultural heritage. His artistic faith journey overlaps with Endo's as he uncovers deep layers of meaning in Japanese history and literature, expressed in art both past and present. He finds connections to how faith is lived in contemporary contexts of trauma and glimpses of how the gospel is conveyed in Christ-hidden cultures. In this world of pain and suffering, God often seems silent. Fujimura's reflections show that light is yet present in darkness, and that silence speaks with hidden beauty and truth.

Sister Wendy on the Art of Christmas
Sister Wendy on the Art of Christmas
Paperback      ISBN: 1616366958

Imagine going on a tour of a world-class art museum with a talented and insightful curator. But instead of just focusing on the history, technique, and cultural significance of each piece, you have the opportunity to reflect on the spiritual aspects of the works, examining their religious significance and concentrating on the transcendental meaning conveyed by the artist. This is what you'll find in this exquisitely produced book.

It features fifteen pieces of art relating to the topic of Christmas, with an extended reflection on each piece. The commentary is meditative, more reflection on the spiritual nature of the paintings' subject than art critique. Sister Wendy writes with the deft hand of one who is formed in spirituality, art, and critical thinking. Her imagery is lush, creating a landscape where the sacred and profane live in comfortable coexistence through the medium of painting. For spiritual seekers and lovers of art, this book will offer a unique journey into the experiential nature of a well-rounded faith.
Sister Wendy on the Art of Mary
Sister Wendy on the Art of Mary
Paperback      ISBN: 1616366931

Imagine going on a tour of a world-class art museum with a talented and insightful curator. But instead of just focusing on the history, technique, and cultural significance of each piece, you have the opportunity to reflect on the spiritual aspects of the works, examining their religious significance and concentrating on the transcendental meaning conveyed by the artist. This is what you'll find in this exquisitely produced book.

It features fifteen pieces of art relating to Mary, with an extended reflection on each piece. The commentary is meditative, more reflection on the spiritual nature of the paintings' subject than art critique. Sister Wendy writes with the deft hand of one who is formed in spirituality, art, and critical thinking. Her imagery is lush, creating a landscape where the sacred and profane live in comfortable coexistence through the medium of painting. For spiritual seekers and lovers of art, this book will offer a unique journey into the experiential nature of a well-rounded faith.
Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts
Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink
Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts
Hardcover      ISBN: 0691165246

A superbly illustrated history of five centuries of Jewish manuscripts

The love of books in the Jewish tradition extends back over many centuries, and the ways of interpreting those books are as myriad as the traditions themselves. Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink offers the first full survey of Jewish illuminated manuscripts, ranging from their origins in the Middle Ages to the present day. Featuring some of the most beautiful examples of Jewish art of all time--including hand-illustrated versions of the Bible, the Haggadah, the prayer book, marriage documents, and other beloved Jewish texts--the book introduces readers to the history of these manuscripts and their interpretation.

Edited by Marc Michael Epstein with contributions from leading experts, this sumptuous volume features a lively and informative text, showing how Jewish aesthetic tastes and iconography overlapped with and diverged from those of Christianity, Islam, and other traditions. Featured manuscripts were commissioned by Jews and produced by Jews and non-Jews over many centuries, and represent Eastern and Western perspectives and the views of both pietistic and liberal communities across the Diaspora, including Europe, Israel, the Middle East, and Africa.

Magnificently illustrated with pages from hundreds of manuscripts, many previously unpublished or rarely seen, Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink offers surprising new perspectives on Jewish life, presenting the books of the People of the Book as never before.
Soul of Light: Works of Illumination
Soul of Light
Works of Illumination
Paperback      ISBN: 0835609049

The visionary art of Portuguese artist Joma Sipe is all about light-not the ordinary light of day but the light of spiritual illumination, which brilliantly radiates from the over one hundred, full-color images in this stunning book. Sipe thinks of his work as sacred geometry that unites this temporal world with higher planes. Each painting thrills with the dispersion and concentration of light that seems to emanate from every line. Sipe regards it as springing from the heart of the universal Energy that shines forth in everything that exists.

According to Sipe, his paintings come completely from inner inspiration. As if by their own volition, the thin silver or gold ink pen he holds will begin to move until the canvas is filled. Sipe then energizes certain points in the drawing with crystals, a process that infuses the work with spiritual intensity. Finally, he adds light and soft-color computer effects to achieve an ethereal quality

Many works in this volume are also accompanied by his mystical poetry.

Since childhood, Sipe has been influenced by painters of the late nineteenth-century Symbolist Movement. He feels profoundly connected with early Theosophist H. P. Blavatsky and believes his works not only provide an image of the nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, they also mirror the laws of nature and the powers latent in humankind. Sipe has also studied Rudolf Steiner, Eliphas Levy, G. I. Gurdieff, the contemporary Gnostics, and the spirituality of Hindu teacher Paramahansa Yogananda and Eckart Tolle, who in turn led him to 'A Course in Miracles'. His knowledge of occult anatomy and the chakras, meditation, alchemy, and the Kabbalah contributes to the wealth of esoteric wisdom he brings to bear in his art. All helps him reflect on canvas his powerful sense of the sacred that seems to illuminate the very being of the viewer as well as of the artist and his visionary world.

Sphinx
Sphinx
Hardcover      ISBN: 0801439620

Sphinxes are legion in Egypt--what is so special about this one?... We shall take a stroll around the monument itself, scrutinizing its special features and analyzing the changes it experienced throughout its history. The evidence linked to the statue will enable us to trace its evolution... down to the worship it received in the first centuries of our own era, when Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans mingled together in devotion to this colossus, illustrious witness to a past that was already more than two millennia old.--from the Introduction

The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of the few monuments from ancient Egypt familiar to nearly everyone. In a land where the colossal is part of the landscape, it still stands out, the largest known statue in Egypt. Originally constructed as the image of King Chephren, builder of the second of the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx later acquired new fame in the guise of the sun god Harmakhis. Major construction efforts in the New Kingdom and Roman Period transformed the monument and its environs into an impressive place of pilgrimage, visited until the end of pagan antiquity.

Christiane Zivie-Coche, a distinguished Egyptologist, surveys the long history of the Great Sphinx and discusses its original appearance, its functions and religious significance, its relation to the many other Egyptian sphinxes, and the various discoveries connected with it. From votive objects deposited by the faithful and inscriptions that testify to details of worship, she reconstructs the cult of Harmakhis (in Egyptian, Har-em-akhet, or Horus-in-the-horizon), which arose around the monument in the second millennium. We are faced, she writes, with a religious phenomenon that is entirely original, though not unique: a theological reinterpretation turned an existing statue into the image of the god who had been invented on its basis.

The coming of Christianity ended the Great Sphinx's religious role. The ever-present sand buried it, thus sparing it the fate that overtook the nearby pyramids, which were stripped of their stone by medieval builders. The monument remained untouched, covered by its desert blanket, until the first excavations. Zivie-Coche details the archaeological activity aimed at clearing the Sphinx and, later, at preserving it from the corrosive effects of a rising water table.

Sphinx: History of a Monument
Sphinx
History of a Monument
Paperback      ISBN: 0801489547

Sphinxes are legion in Egypt--what is so special about this one?... We shall take a stroll around the monument itself, scrutinizing its special features and analyzing the changes it experienced throughout its history. The evidence linked to the statue will enable us to trace its evolution... down to the worship it received in the first centuries of our own era, when Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans mingled together in devotion to this colossus, illustrious witness to a past that was already more than two millennia old.--from the Introduction

The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of the few monuments from ancient Egypt familiar to nearly everyone. In a land where the colossal is part of the landscape, it still stands out, the largest known statue in Egypt. Originally constructed as the image of King Chephren, builder of the second of the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx later acquired new fame in the guise of the sun god Harmakhis. Major construction efforts in the New Kingdom and Roman Period transformed the monument and its environs into an impressive place of pilgrimage, visited until the end of pagan antiquity.

Christiane Zivie-Coche, a distinguished Egyptologist, surveys the long history of the Great Sphinx and discusses its original appearance, its functions and religious significance, its relation to the many other Egyptian sphinxes, and the various discoveries connected with it. From votive objects deposited by the faithful and inscriptions that testify to details of worship, she reconstructs the cult of Harmakhis (in Egyptian, Har-em-akhet, or Horus-in-the-horizon), which arose around the monument in the second millennium. We are faced, she writes, with a religious phenomenon that is entirely original, though not unique: a theological reinterpretation turned an existing statue into the image of the god who had been invented on its basis.

The coming of Christianity ended the Great Sphinx's religious role. The ever-present sand buried it, thus sparing it the fate that overtook the nearby pyramids, which were stripped of their stone by medieval builders. The monument remained untouched, covered by its desert blanket, until the first excavations. Zivie-Coche details the archaeological activity aimed at clearing the Sphinx and, later, at preserving it from the corrosive effects of a rising water table.

Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross
Paperback      ISBN: 0826405681

Sara Maitland's compelling human stories give voice to Chris Gollon's powerful contemporary sequence of Stations of the Cross (painted from life and reproduced in the book in high-res colour images): a unique and potent collaboration.

The Stations were commissioned for St John on Bethnal Green, a visually prominent London Anglican church designed by Sir John Soane, the neo-classical architect who also created the Bank of England and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The church stands on the boundary between Hackney and Tower Hamlets and is therefore in one of the more deprived and multi-cultural areas of the UK. In 2001 the congregation made the extraordinary decision to commission a site-specific Stations of the Cross, the traditional 14 pictures of the last day of Jesus' human life, used from the Middle Ages onwards for meditation and prayer (and established in their usual form by St Francis of Assisi, who is also credited with introducing the better-known Christmas crib scene - the two come out of the same spiritual tradition). Perhaps unexpectedly, they chose a contemporary artist not best known for his religious works: Chris Gollon (see www.chrisgollon.com). The Rector described the reasoning: The church of St John on Bethnal Green has had a long-standing involvement with people on the fringes of our society, the sort of people who often figure in Chris' paintings. His work contains many religious allusions and forms, which do not suggest conformity but challenge. These are the themes we wish to explore in this series of the Stations of the Cross and it is vital to have an artist who is not safe but perceptive and unsettling in interpreting the traditions. Chris has our confidence on all these counts.

It was a risky commission for everyone involved because at the time there was no money to pay Gollon, and the stations have been paid for one by one by an odd variety of sponsors, including the parishioners themselves, public art bodies and various private donors. By Easter 2008 the whole series was completed; the sequence was first used on Good Friday when the pictures gained considerable media attention. The commission for the Stations has taken 8 years to fulfil and they have been widely featured in national broadsheets, arts press and all denominations of religious arts press. The paintings are now reflected in a sequence of stories: first-person narratives by a well-known author who has been closely involved with the project.
Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography
Stories in Stone
A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography
Hardcover      ISBN: 158685321x

Certain symbols abound in modern Western culture that are instantly recognizable: the cross signifies Christianity, the six-pointed Star of David is revered by Jews, the golden arches frequently means it's time for lunch. Other symbols, however, require a bit of decoding-particularly those found in cemeteries.

Cemeteries are virtual encyclopedias of symbolism. Engravings on tombstones, mausoleums and memorials tell us just about everything there is to know about a person- date of birth and death as well as religion, ethnicity, occupation, community interests, and much more. In the fascinating new book Stories in Stone: The Complete Guide to Cemetery Symbolism by noted author Douglas Keister, the secrets of cemetery symbolism are finally revealed. For instance, did you know that it is quite rare to see a sunflower on a tombstone? Did you know that the human foot symbolizes humility and service since it consistently touches the earth? Or the humble sheaf of wheat-while it is often used to denote someone who has lived a long and fruitful life, do you know other meanings it might carry?

Stories in Stone provides history along with images of a wide variety of common and not-so-common cemetery symbols, and offers an in-depth examination of stone relics and the personal and intimate details they display-flora and fauna, religious icons, society symbols, and final impressions of how the deceased wished to be remembered. Douglas Keister has created a practical field guide that is compact and portable, perfect for those interested in family histories and genealogical research, and is the only book of its kind that unlocks the language of symbols in a comprehensive and easy-to-understand manner.

Douglas Keister has photographed fourteen award-winning, critically acclaimed books (including Red Tile Style: America's Spanish Revival Architecture, The Bungalow: America's Arts & Crafts Home, and Storybook Style: America's Whimsical Homes of the Twenties) earning him the title America's most noted photographer of historic architecture. He also writes and illustrates magazine articles and contributes photographs and essays to other books, calendars, posters, and greeting cards. Doug lives in Chico, California, and travels frequently to photograph and lecture on historic architecture and photography.

A Subversive Gospel: Flannery O'Connor and the Reimagining of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth
A Subversive Gospel
Flannery O'Connor and the Reimagining of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth
Paperback      ISBN: 083085066x
  • Conference on Christianity and Literature (CCL) 2020 Book of the Year - Literary Criticism

The good news of Jesus Christ is a subversive gospel, and following Jesus is a subversive act. These notions were embodied in the literary work of American author Flannery O'Connor, whose writing was deeply informed by both her Southern context and her Christian faith. In this volume in IVP Academic's Studies in Theology and the Arts series, theologian Michael Bruner explores O'Connor's theological aesthetic and argues that she reveals what discipleship to Christ entails by subverting the traditional understandings of beauty, truth, and goodness through her fiction. In addition, Bruner challenges recent scholarship by exploring the little-known influence of Baron Friedrich von Hügel, a twentieth-century Roman Catholic theologian, on her work. Bruner's study thus serves as a guide for those who enjoy reading O'Connor and--even more so--those who, like O'Connor herself, follow the subversive path of the crucified and risen one.