Bodies of Christ: Visualizing Jesus Then and Now addresses a fundamental dilemma of Christianity: how to represent God's Son. This is particularly important in the twenty-first century. Issues of race, gender, and sexuality animate debates in church, state, and society. Considerations of bodies and body images dominate personal lives. And new technologies allow for the creation and distribution of images as never before. How we "see" Jesus Christ plays a vital role in how we see ourselves, our communities, our churches, our nations, and our societies.
We will begin with history. How have peoples of the past represented Jesus Christ? What has animated debates ranging from heresy discussions to the Protestant Reformation? How has American history, its triumphs and tragedies, altered the terrains of conversation? Then, we will address the present and future. How can we represent Jesus Christ to best serve the kingdom of God? How can we address displays of Jesus in popular culture and media? How can we engage our sisters and brothers to deepen their commitments to Jesus Christ through their own visualizations?
We look forward to a diverse group of historians, religious studies scholars, artists, theologians, and pastors to discuss and debate these topics.
James Bratt, Dept of History, Calvin College