Faith, Beauty and Iconography, Part II: Splendor and Cataclysm.
Class Monday linked contemporary issues to those we are studying involving Greek and Roman spectacle; the uses of spectacle for social and political control; and the history of Europe and the Middle East, looking most closely at how religion has motivated the creation of art and the destiny of peoples and nations. The contemporary issues discussed were foremost, violence against women (and men) in the United States brought to this country’s attention again, this time by revelations of crimes and alleged crimes by NFL players. (Statistics on abuse on the U.S. is here. In addition we discussed violence in other sports and more so, in our society at large. Another significant topic was the role that money and American corporations as well as institutions such as universities, play in how the public perceives important issues. We looked closely at the Crusades and how Christian Europe systematically committed genocide against Muslims and Jews for centuries, and did their best to camouflage or cover up their crimes against humanity. Class in the morning was noteworthy for some intense but respectful argument and discussion. For whatever reasons, the response of the afternoon class was more muted. Your thoughtful comments are invited.
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Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times, published Sept. 21, 2014.Photo by
Left: Actor Joaquin Phoenix as Emperor Commodus in the film Gladiator, release in the year 2000.
Right: George W. Bush as a fighter pilot aboard the Amercan aircraft carried the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, announcing “Mission Accomplished,” and the end of significant combat involvement by U.S. forces in Iraq. Eight years later most American military personnel came home (December 2011), however warfare causing thousands more casualties of all kinds continues to this day.
Richard I (Richard the Lionhearted) overseeing the massacre of 2,700 to 3,000 Muslim prisoners, who together with the Jewish population of Jerusalem, attempted to halt the Catholic invasion of their city in the year 1191. More at: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/lionheart.htm
This post was published on Monday, Sept. 22 and will remain open until Wednesday, Sept. 24 at about 8 am.