Perceptions of the Body and Sacred Space in Late Antiquity and Byzantium
Perceptions of the Body and Sacred Space in Late Antiquity and Byzantium seeks to reveal Christian understanding of the body and sacred space in the medieval Mediterranean. Case studies examine encounters with the holy through the perspective of the human body and sensory dimensions of sacred space, and discuss the dynamics of perception when experiencing what was constructed, represented, and understood as sacred. The comparative analysis investigates viewers’ recognitions of the sacred in specific locations or segments of space with an emphasis on the experiential and conceptual relationships between sacred spaces and human bodies. This volume thus reassesses the empowering aspects of space, time, and human agency in religious contexts. By focusing on investigations of human endeavors towards experiential and visual expressions that shape perceptions of holiness, this study ultimately aims to present a better understanding of the corporeality of sacred art and architecture. The research points to how early Christians and Byzantines teleologically viewed the divine source of the sacred in terms of its ability to bring together – but never fully dissolve – the distinctions between the human and divine realms. The revealed mechanisms of iconic perception and noetic contemplation have the potential to shape knowledge of the meanings of the sacred as well as to improve our understanding of the liminality of the profane and the sacred.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Encounters with the Holy, Jelena Bogdanović Part I THE IMMATERIAL AND PLACELESS SACRED 1. Images of Invisible Beauty in the Aesthetic Cosmology of Dionysius the Areopagite, Filip Ivanović Part II THE SACRED MADE PALPABLE 2. Monumental Icons and Their Bodies in Early Christian Rome and Byzantium, Maria Lidova 3. Imperial Bodies and Sacred Space? Imperial family images between monumental decoration and space definition in Late Antiquity and Byzantium, Maria Cristina Carile 4. The Influence of Icons on the Perception of Living Holy Persons, Katherine Marsengill Part III THE SACRED DELIVERED 5. Delivering the Sacred: Representing Translatio on the Trier Ivory, Ljubomir Milanović 6. Bodies in Motion: Visualizing Trinitarian Space in the Albenga Baptistery, Nathan S. Dennis 7. A Mobile Dialogue of an Immobile Saint: St. Symeon the Younger, Divine Liturgy, and the Architectural Setting, Ayşe Belgin-Henry 8. Framing Glorious Spaces in the Monastery of Hosios Loukas, Jelena Bogdanović Conclusions. Iconic Perception and Noetic Contemplation of the Sacred, Jelena Bogdanović with Katherine Marsengill Bibliography
Jelena Bogdanović is Associate Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University, USA. Trained as an architect and an historian of art and architecture, she specializes in the architectural history of Byzantine, Slavic, Western European, and Islamic cultures in the Balkans and the Mediterranean.
‘[The book is] ... an enlightening journey through the early Christian Mediterranean mentalities in relation to how the connection between body and sacred space was seen and represented, and a well-documented and rich source for any scholar interested in this period - Ecaterina Lung, Hiperboreea, Volume 8, No. 1 (2021).
‘Each of the eight contributors shows in a different way how art, design, and architectural space could help transform the human body into a vehicle of the divine. Icons and the spaces they occupied had a real presence facilitated by shimmering surfaces; they demanded that believers should move bodily through constricted or open spaces, and they rewarded the pious who gazed upwards with animated manifestations of the heavenly realm’ – Time and Mind, Volume 12, Issue 3 (2019).