Friday, July 01, 2005
Putting the Hurt on Evil
During my research for the sermon on Mark 3, I discovered this image from the Getty Museum. It comes from the page of a 13th century manuscript. The scene is obviously inspired by Revelation as it depicts unclean spirits issuing from the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet.
What is Christ doing in the illustration? It has been a few years since I studied art history. I had almost enough hours in art history to minor in the subject. I know that certain poses and gestures are artistic conventions that are visual shorthand for theological concepts. For example, when Jesus is shown in some paintings holding up two fingers he isn't giving the sign for peace; rather he is flashing the sign that says that he is one with the Father.
Well and good, but what is this odd gesture above? If any of you out there know perhaps you might illumine me. In the meanwhile I will share my theory with you: I think Jesus is taking up his "wax on" kung fu stance and he is about to put some ginormous theological hurt on evil. Hey I like that! You will have to have some serious art history credentials to convince me I am wrong.