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Stories in Book Club

Mosaics as History: The Near East from Late Antiquity to Islam by G. W. Bowersock

Annie Labatt, 2012 Chester Dale Fellow, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Floor Mosaic Depicting the Cities of Memphis and Alexandria

The large Jordanian floor mosaics are some of the most provocative objects in the exhibition, a fact made evident in the lively talks at the recent symposium "Floor Mosaics in the Late Antique Mediterranean," which took place at the Met on May 11, 2012.

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Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza by Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole

Yitzchak Schwartz, Intern, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Monday, July 2, 2012

Reams of scholarship have been written on the contents of the Cairo Geniza, but in Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza, authors Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole explore how the 1896 discovery itself changed the world of Jewish scholarship.

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The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels by Janet Martin Soskice

Annie Labatt, 2012 Chester Dale Fellow, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012

In The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels, Janet Martin Soskice tells the story of twin sisters Agnes and Margaret Smith, born in Scotland in 1843, who made a discovery that would have implications for the future of biblical studies.

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The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque: Christians and Muslims in the World of Islam by Sidney H. Griffith

Heather Badamo, Harper-Schmidt Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Art History, University of Chicago

Posted: Friday, June 22, 2012

Walking through galleries that display Qur'ans and Muslim palatial sculpture, you may wonder what happened to the Christian communities who came to live under Islamic rule. In The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque, Sidney H. Griffith goes some way toward answering this question, showing how Christians made a place for themselves in the new Islamic caliphate.

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Approaching the Qur'an by Michael Sells

Betsy Williams, Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow, Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Folio from a Qur'an

Although the Qur'an shares much with the Judeo-Christian traditions of the Torah and the Old and New Testaments, it is often difficult for non-Muslim readers to understand the text's repeated formulations and unique approach to narrative. Michael Sells's book Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations seeks to assist the unfamiliar by emphasizing the Qur'an's literary qualities.

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Art & Judaism in the Greco-Roman World: Toward a New Jewish Archaeology by Steven Fine

Yitzchak Schwartz, Intern, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In Art & Judaism in the Greco-Roman World: Toward a New Jewish Archaeology, Steven Fine tackles the question of what ancient Jewish art meant to the people who experienced and made it.

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The Formation of Islamic Art by Oleg Grabar

Betsy Williams, Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow, Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Block Carved with a Fan Pattern

Most surveys of Islamic art proceed chronologically or geographically to synthesize several centuries of material covering a region stretching from Spain to Afghanistan. Oleg Grabar's book, The Formation of Islamic Art, instead focuses thematically on the earliest centuries of Islam.

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Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity
by Daniel Boyarin

Yitzchak Schwartz, Intern, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Today we perceive Judaism and Christianity as totally separate religions, but in Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity, author Daniel Boyarin describes the process in which "borders" were created to divide what was once a unified "Judaeo-Christianity," and the rich cultural interactions that took place between Jews and Christians even as the divisions between them were erected.

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Islamic Art and Architecture

Betsy Williams, Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow, Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2012

Introducing the arts of the Islamic world to a new audience is often a challenge for scholars, not only because the reader may be unfamiliar with the names or chronology, but also because the subject covers such a vast geographic area. Islamic Art and Architecture, 650–1250 by Richard Ettinghausen, Oleg Grabar, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina provides a thorough overview to the arts and architecture of the Islamic world from North Africa to Central Asia beginning with the jahiliyya (pre-Islamic) period and ending with the Mongol siege of Baghdad in 1258. The book illustrates a wide array of objects both secular and sacred, luxurious and mundane.

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Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC–AD 800

Betsy Williams, Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow, Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Order for Veils or Handkerchiefs

While many studying the late antique period tend to focus on large-scale political shifts, change on the microlevel is often more difficult to track. Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt offers such a sense of everyday people's daily concerns by allowing us to peek at their correspondence.

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Byzantine Art by Robin Cormack

Annie Labatt, 2012 Chester Dale Fellow, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012

For anyone hoping for a solid introduction to the major monuments of early medieval Byzantine art, Robin Cormack's Byzantine Art is a perfect place to start.

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About this Blog

This blog accompanied the special exhibition Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, on view March 14–July 8, 2012.

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