Art and Religious Experience in Byzantium and Islam
This course presents a comparative study of Christian and Islamic paradigms (sixth to the thirteenth centuries) in the construction of religious experience through the material fabric of the building, the interior decor, objects, and rituals. We will read medieval ekphrastic texts and poetry, which stirred the viewer/participant to experience the building/object as animate. Among the sites we will study are: Hagia Sophia, the Ka'ba, the Dome of teh Rock, the Mosque at Damascus and at Cordoba. We will read Byzantine and Arabic writers such as Paul the Silentiary, Patriarch Germanos, Maximus Confessor, Shahrawardi, and Ibn Arabi.