The Development of Early Christian Art Analytical Essay by devilsdelusion

The Development of Early Christian Art
An examination of the origins, development and contemporary interpretations of early Christian art.
# 113833 | 2,923 words | 8 sources | MLA | 2006 | CA
Published on May 13, 2009 in Art (History) , Religion and Theology (Christianity) , Art (Painting) , Art (Sculpture)

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This paper examines the Christian art of the first five centuries C.E., which is potentially a source of a great deal of data and information about Christianity during the period in question. The author explains that the origins and development of early Christian art are indebted to a number of factors. These factors are comprised of certain styles associated with certain regions and practices, converts to Christianity adopting pagan practices, and to more than purely aesthetic functions such as pedagogical uses. The paper concludes that early Christian art did not spring into existence without roots. Rather it can be seen as an undisrupted continuous seam going back to ancient religions and practices.

From the Paper:

"Textual evidence seems to suggest that certain theologians did indeed go against the production of cultic art objects for the practice of idolatry while perhaps understanding the difference between that and the functional uses of art whether it was decorative, symbolic or didactic. Christians probably understood that smaller objects did not have much significance. So when larger objects did come on to the scene it was not of a great shock since they were not seen as objects of worship and "therefore presented no danger of idolatry." Some scholars believe that many of the Christian converts that came from a polytheistic background abandoned their old practices since they would recognize it was incompatible with their new faith."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Christian Art. Online: Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. <<>> This page was last modified 20:05, 22 November 2006.
  • Esler, Philip F, ed. The Early Christian World. New York: Routledge, 2000.
  • Hill, Jonathan. The History of Christian Thought. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003.
  • Kelly, Joseph F. The World of Early Christians. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1997.
  • More, C. R. Christian Art. New York: Norton & Company, 1958.

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