Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Like other students of culture, historians of ancient Christianity deem the visual art, artefacts, and architecture of the early church as resources indispensable to discerning how various early Christian communities expressed and transmitted their religious beliefs. The study of visual images not only supplements and balances documentary research, but often affords scholars access to objects which are not only of great beauty, but which act as powerful agents of message and meaning. Furthermore, it opens the question of how vision itself functioned in religious practice. The insights gained from the study of visual culture are achieved not only from comparing textual evidence with material evidence, but also from the appreciation of the interpretive role, expressive power, and aesthetic qualities of physical remains in their own right, along with the analysis of the visual experience itself as a meaning-constructive activity.

Keywords: visual culture, ancient Christianity, religious practice, aesthetic qualities

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.