Legends, Fictions, and the Manuscripts That Illustrate Christ's Story
The Getty Center
Date: Thursday, September 22, 2011
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages, such as those on view in the exhibition In the Beginning Was the Word: Medieval Gospel Illumination, are significant for the literary texts they preserve. But they are also important, historically and culturally, for their illustrations of the life of Christ. These artistic representations tell tales of their own, and the visual stories are not always found in the corresponding texts. A careful examination of these images shows clearly and convincingly that medieval artists were not only familiar with the stories of the canonical Gospels, but also with popular interpretative alterations of these accounts and, more striking still, with many noncanonical apocryphal tales of Jesus. The apocryphal stories, in some instances, were understood to be "Gospel truth," on par with accounts found in Scripture. In this lecture, Bart Ehrman, James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of Forged: Writing in the Name of God—Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are and Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them), explores both canonical and apocryphal narratives of Jesus's life. Ehrman shows how these chronicles came to be portrayed in manuscripts that serve as repositories of some of the greatest works of art of the medieval period.
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