Aesthetic Theology and Its Enemies: Judaism in Christian Painting, Poetry, and Politics
"Aesthetic Theology and Its Enemies is a book of great intellectual subtlety and scope."
Sara Lipton, SUNY Stony Brook
The book will be a delight to teach with, and to pique students' curiosity, because Nirenberg's emphasis is on provocative and succinct argument. It is also a book which puts medieval ways of seeing and reading at the centre of a long history of Christianity and, in doing so, demonstrates the importance of a subtle and supple understanding of medieval history for our understanding of post-medieval culture.
—The Journal of Religious History, Literature and Culture
In Aesthetic Theology and Its Enemies, historian David Nirenberg argues that many of our Western notions of Jewishness were created by Christians as a result of 'aesthetic anxiety.
In a historic panorama that moves deftly from Plato and St. Paul to the Cantigas de Santa Maria to Emile Nolde, what stands out most vividly are Nirenberg’s masterly analyses of individual works. Through the Madrid Throne of Grace, Chaucer’s Prioress’ Tale, and Ernst Kantorowicz’s The King’s Two Bodies, among others, these demonstrate his astounding thesis that the gap between actual things and transcendent truth has perpetually been bridged in Christian culture by evoking Judaism as an aesthetic category.
—Herbert L. Kessler, professor emeritus, Johns Hopkins University
Aesthetic Theology and Its Enemies is a book of great intellectual subtlety and scope. In elegant prose, Nirenberg explores how, over many centuries and in manifold ways, Christian poets, artists, and political theorists used Judaism and Jews to think about and express the vexed relationship between visible and invisible, material and spiritual realms.
—Sara Lipton, State University of New York at Stony Brook
DAVID NIRENBERG has been writing about the intertwined histories of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam for many years. He is a professor at the University of Chicago, teaching in the history department and the Committee on Social Thought. His numerous publications include his groundbreaking monograph Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages and his recent and much acclaimed Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition.