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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Painting the Text: The Artist as Biblical Interpreter
O'Kane, Martin

Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2007 pp. xiv + 234. $70.00

Series Information
The Bible in the Modern World, 8

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Description: In this masterly work, Martin O'Kane shows artists at work as readers of the Bible and not simply as illustrators of biblical scenes. The painter's eye commonly sees nuances and subtleties of plot and characterization in the biblical text that traditional biblical criticism has overlooked. Focussing in fine detail on some well-known biblical themes-the deception of Isaac, the depiction of Isaiah's suffering servant, the visit of the Magi and the flight into Egypt, among others-O'Kane argues that modern readers need the artist's exegetical insight and engagement to appreciate the text fully. Ranging widely over mediaeval, Renaissance and modern art, the author situates his work within the hermeneutical aesthetics of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Mieke Bal and Paolo Berdini. Some 30 images are reproduced in the text.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Interpretation

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Review by Dan W. Clanton Jr.
Published 5/17/2008
Citation: Dan W. Clanton Jr., review of Martin O'Kane, Painting the Text: The Artist as Biblical Interpreter, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2008).


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