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Title: Imaging divinity : the 'invisible' Godhead in early Christian art c.300-c.730
Author: Michael, Georgia
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 5382
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2017
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Representations of the Holy Trinity have increasingly come under scrutiny, exposing two competing paradigms at opposite ends of the theological spectrum: the legitimacy and the illegitimacy of imaging the Triune God with focus on the invisible Father who was imaged as an individual from Late Antiquity and beyond. An overview of these two conflicting views has unveiled a number of inconsistencies in how the Early Christian iconography of God the Father and the Trinity has been interpreted. This thesis provides a unique re-evaluation of the surviving Trinitarian visual material between c.300 to c.730. Primarily, this study collates pictorial evidence preserved in the mediums of sarcophagi, catacomb frescoes, mosaics, illuminated manuscripts and an icon that depicts Divinity. It proceeds to critique modern misconceptions of the identity, form, meaning, function and reception of the depictions. The thesis traces the visual shift amid overt and covert images of Divinity by decoding important artworks such as the Ashburnham Pentateuch and the Codex Amiatinus; Christians visualised explicitly the ' invisibility' of God but created an unprecedented invention, the depiction of the Father through Christ's image. The innovative depiction heralded future visual formulas of Divinity echoing the complexities of Trinitarian material culture of the Mediterranean world.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; A.G. Leventis Foundation ; College of Arts and Law
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BR Christianity ; BT Doctrinal Theology ; DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World ; N Visual arts (General) ; ND Painting