Rabbi decodes hidden meanings in Christian art
RELEASED: March 9,2006
DANVILLE, KYCentre College will present a lecture titled "Judaism, Christianity, and the Crucifixion: Coexistence vs. Anti-Semitism on Parchment" by Michael Cook, Bronstein Professor of Judaeo-Christian studies at Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. The free lecture will take place on March 13 at 7 p.m. in Weisiger Theatre on campus.
Cook's talk will address how Christian attitudes toward Jews were encoded in famous Medieval and Renaissance art. Cook's multi-media presentation will analyze iconic art of the Synagogue and the Church as well as other symbols rarely understood today.
Symbol-laden works of art were heavily influential on the attitudes adopted toward Jews by the Christian masses, conditioning the mindset of millions in Europe, and possibly playing some role in allowing Europe to be caught unaware by the Holocaust.
"Michael Cook brings eminent scholarship and a dynamic teaching style to a topic that continues Centre's ongoing focus on Jewish-Christian relations and the Holocaust," says Richard D. Axtell, associate professor of religion.
"This provocative presentation is a fitting follow-up to last year's 'Voices in the Darkness' exhibit at the College's Norton Center and to the Opening Convocation address by Elie Wiesel," Axtell continues.
Michael Cook has the unusual distinction of being the only rabbi in America with a Full-Professorial Chair in New Testament. In 2003, he was one of seven scholars selected by the Catholic Bishops to assess the accuracy of the advance script of Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. It was Gibson's reaction to the scholars' report that generated the ensuing international controversy.Cook has received an "Excellence in Teaching Award" from the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Universities and is currently writing a major book entitled Modern Jews Engage the New Testament: Enhancing Jewish Well-Being in a Christian Environment.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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