Presentation: Evolution of the Imagery of Christ

Here's Laura, with details about an interesting lecture happening this weekend...    

How many people in the Ruston area attend church regularly? Judging by the number of churches around here I would guess a lot! But how many delve into the object of their faith outside of the context of their church, or even the context of their lifetime? I think about these things quite often, so when I discovered that my former Louisiana Tech Professor of Art History was giving a lecture entitled the “Evolution of the Imagery of Christ,” I was eager to attend.

     Having graduated with a degree in Art I suspected that many in attendance might have never heard or even thought about the sort of things the lecture would encompass. Questions such as, why do we depict Christ the way we do? Do the depictions we have really look like any descriptions of Christ we have in the Bible? Does the Bible even go into detail about how Jesus looked? When was the first time anyone tried to create a likeness of Christ? And most importantly for historians, do the ways societies depict the center of their major faith reflect how they live and how they think, and what does it say about these societies as the depictions of their deities change over time?

     Fascinating isn’t it? Who ever thought so much could be read into one portrayal of Christ? Just by looking at an image on an old wall in an old church we can in our present day deduce much about the society that produced that artwork. We can then look at other images intended to be the visual and idealistic heirs of the first, and surmise how the society that created them changed over time, whether it has been 5 years, or 500 between the creations of the artworks. Altogether these clues paint the evolution of the “Christian faith” through the lives of those who practiced it over hundreds of years, in essence (for many of us), our religious ancestry.  

     Professor Saul Zalesch’s first lecture covered the evolution of the imagery of Christ from the very beginning of the Christian church until the Renaissance. The second lecture will continue where Saul left off, and conclude at modern day depictions of Christ. If you did not attended the first lecture, don’t worry; there is still a lot to learn!  

      “The Evolution of the Imagery of Christ, Part II” will be held at 9:30-10:30am on Sunday, September 29th, at the Presbytery of the Pines Church in downtown Ruston.  The lecture is free and open for all who wish to attend.