Questions about Heaven and Hell and other Weighty Matters!

Alexis and Maria will be our guides for tomorrow’s class, but here are just a few questions to think about for our discussion.
In the tympanum at Conques, do you agree with the author’s reading of the facial expressions of the damned? Isn’t it interesting to think about our expressions and gestures as culturally contingent?! In what way was Augustine’s conception of hell different from other Early Christian Church Fathers? How did the Byzantine notion of the Resurrection differ from that of the West? Did the sketch of Ste.-Foi’s actions surprise you? Does the restraint of the elect at Conques weaken the author’s theory of attunement with the damned?

In the construction of sanctity, what role does architecture play? What role does the shrine play in devotion? What does the author mean by the “voice or tone of the shrine”? What “conspires” at Golgotha to make the religious experience so powerful? What role do the ampullae of holy oil play in the pilgrims’ experience of the sacred? What function did the icon fulfill in the Eastern shrine? What guided the medieval viewer in his devotions? In other words, was there a “proper form” of worship of these images? West versus East: discuss! When Hahn says that the shrines (or the saint’s presence therein) join the past and the present, how do they also join the devotee to the Heavenly Jerusalem?

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