Facing the Gods: Epiphany and Representation in Graeco-Roman Art, Literature and Religion

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 28, 2011 - History - 482 pages
This is the first history of epiphany as both a phenomenon and as a cultural discourse within the Graeco-Roman world, exploring divine manifestations and their representations, in visual terms as well as in literary, historical and epigraphic accounts. Verity Platt sets the cultural analysis of epiphany within a historical framework that explores its development from the archaic period into the Roman empire. In particular, a surprisingly large number of the images that have survived from antiquity are not only religious, but epiphanically charged. Verity Platt argues that the enduring potential for divine incursions into mortal experience provides a structure of cognitive reliability that supports both ancient religion and mythology. At the same time, Graeco-Roman culture exhibits a sophisticated awareness of the difficulties of the apprehension of deity, the representation of divine presence, and the potential for the manmade sign to lead the worshipper back to an unmediated epiphanic encounter.

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About the author (2011)

Verity Platt is Associate Professor in the departments of Classics and Art History at Cornell University, having previously taught at the universities of Exeter and Chicago. Her research interests include attitudes to the sacred image in antiquity, ancient theories of representation, the relationship between image and text, and Roman wall-painting and funerary art. This is her first book.

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