Art, Religion, Amnesia : The Enchantments of Credulity book cover
1st Edition

Art, Religion, Amnesia
The Enchantments of Credulity

ISBN 9780415778619
Published December 3, 2013 by Routledge
160 Pages

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Book Description

Art, Religion, Amnesia addresses the relationship between art and religion in contemporary culture, directly challenging contemporary notions of art and religion as distinct social phenomena and explaining how such Western terms represent alternative and even antithetical modes of world-making.

In this new book, Professor Preziosi offers a critique of the main thrust of writing in recent years on the subjects of art, religion, and their interconnections, outlining in detail a perspective which redefines the basic terms in which recent debates and discussions have been articulated both in the scholarly and popular literature, and in artistic, political and religious practice. Art, Religion and Amnesia proposes an alternative to the two conventional traditions of writing on the subject which have been devoted on the one hand to the ‘spiritual’ dimensions of artistry, and on the other hand to the (equally spurious) ‘aesthetic’ aspects of religion.

The book interrogates the fundamental assumptions fuelling many current controversies over representation, idolatry, blasphemy, and political culture. Drawing on debates from Plato’s proposal to banish representational art from his ideal city-state to the Danish cartoons of Mohamed, Preziosi argues that recent debates have echoed a number of very ancient controversies in political philosophy, theology, and art history over the problem of representation and its functions in individual and social life.

This book is a unique re-evaluation of the essential indeterminacy of meaning-making, marking a radically new approach to understanding the inextricability of aesthetics and theology and will be of interest to students and researchers in art history, philosophy and religion and cultural theory.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Art, Religion, Amnesia: Provocations  1. Avant-propos  2. Preamble  3. Perambulations  4. Specters of Artifice: A Hauntology  5. Parenthesis: Art, Time, and the Untimely  6. Godless in Copenhagen: Theses, Corollaries, Consequences  7. Semiosis and its (Dis)contents: Two Matters  8. The Romance of the Eucharist and the Phylactery  9. Art, Religion, and the Parallax of Gender: The Cleft of Delphi  10. The Tears of Thingness and the Amnesty of Amnesia  11. Coda

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Donald Preziosi is Professor Emeritus of Art History at UCLA, where he developed the art history critical theory program as well as the UCLA museum studies program. His research, teaching, and writing link together cultural studies, intellectual history, critical theory, and the arts and museologies of various ancient and modern societies.


"Preziosi (emer., UCLA) seeks to illuminate the complexities of understanding involved, variously, in the experience and articulation of aesthetics with particular reference to the relationship between art and religion...Of greatest value to scholars and advanced researchers, this book also offers many insights to other well-educated readers.   Summing Up: Recommended."R. W. Liscombe,  University of British Columbia in CHOICE