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But James is not so much theological as it is practical and fits a much-needed gap between the doctrine and practice of Christianity. Second Peter The most suspect of all the books is 2 Peter. Basically, the reasons for questioning its authorship are the stylistic differences between it and 1 Peter. However, these stylistic differences can be explained by Peter's use of an amanuensis, or secretary, to do the writing for him. First, the author was not specifically stated he is called merely "the elder. Because of these factors there were not too many early writers who would quote from them.
Jude Jude is a brief letter that gained immediate acceptance everywhere except Parthia, modern-day Iran. Jude was questioned for his use of the apocryphal Book of Enoch.
Revelation | Reading Acts
Revelation It is no surprise that the Book of Revelation would meet some opposition due to the apocalyptic nature of the work. However, it had almost instant recognition everywhere except in Parthia. The great biblical scholar R. Charles wrote concerning the Book of Revelation:. Throughout the Christian church during the second century, there is hardly any other book in the New Testament so well received as Revelation R.
We must remember that Jesus promised His disciples would be guided into all truth. The authority of Jesus' disciples matched that of Himself. Those whose writings were accepted by them would share the same authority. These seven books were only questioned by some of the church, not all of it. They were eventually recognized by the whole church to be included in the New Testament canon. There are a group of writings which are considered part of Old Testament Scripture by the Roman Catholic church but are not accepted as inspired by the Protestant church and Judaism.
These are known as the Apocrypha. The word Apocrypha means "hidden. Eleven of these fourteen books are considered Holy Scripture by the Roman Catholic church. When added to the Old Testament, they constitute only seven extra books because the others are attached to existing books. The Apocrypha is about the size of the New Testament. Apocrypha and Apocryphal Sometimes people confuse the terms Apocrypha and apocryphal. The term apocryphal is also applied to other books that are New Testament forgeries. An example of this would be the Gospel of Thomas, which claims to have been written by Jesus' disciple Thomas.
The book, however is a forgery. The word Apocrypha is a specific term used to refer to the particular books that are considered Scripture by the Roman Catholic Church. History The Protestant reformers, particularly in the sixteenth century, pointed out many abuses in the Roman Catholic church at that time. From to a church council met at Trent to answer some of their charges. Among their decisions was the pronouncement of these books as Holy Scripture.
Before that time they were not regarded by the Roman Catholic church as sacred Scripture. The Protestant church rejects them for the following reasons:. No Claim The primary reason for rejecting the Apocrypha as Scripture is that there is no claim within the books that they are inspired by God.
This is in contrast to the canonical Scriptures which claim to record the revelation of God. If the Apocrypha were considered Scripture by the people living in the first century, we would certainly expect them to refer to it in some way. It cites the works the same way Paul cited heathen poets Acts This demonstrates that the New Testament writers were familiar with the Apocrypha but did not consider them to be upon the same level as Old Testament Scripture.
Rejected by the Jews The Jews have never considered these works to be inspired. On the contrary, they denied their inspiration. At the time of Christ we have the testimony of the Jewish writer Flavius Josephus that they were only twenty-two books to be inspired by God.
The books of the Apocrypha were not among these. Not on Early Lists In the early years of the church it drew up various lists of the books it considered to be Scripture. The books of the Apocrypha do not appear on any list until the fourth century. There was no unanimity of opinion among them that these books should be considered Scripture.
Demonstrable Errors The Apocrypha also contains demonstrable errors. For example, Tobit was supposedly alive when Jereboam staged his revolt in B. This means that he lived over two hundred years! However, the Book of Tobit says he lived only years Tobit ; This is an obvious contradiction. Other examples could be cited. Those who believe in an inerrant Scripture cannot accept the Apocrypha as God's Word. No Evidence of Inspiration The books of the Apocrypha do not contain anything like predictive prophecy that would give evidence of their inspiration.
If these books were inspired by God, then we should expect to see some internal evidence confirming it. But there is none. The Hebrews accepted the same thirty-nine books, although divided differently that the Protestant church does today. Jesus put His stamp of approval on these books but said nothing concerning the Apocrypha. However, He did say that the Scriptures were the authoritative Word of God and could not be broken.
Any adding to that which God has revealed is denounced in the strongest of terms. Therefore, we have the testimony of Jesus against the authenticity of the Apocrypha. We conclude that the Apocrypha should not be considered canonical because the books do not demonstrate themselves to be upon the same level as Scripture. Jesus did not consider it part of His Old Testament and we are told not to add or subtract anything from God's Word.
The Book of Jude seemingly contains a quotation of the intertestamental Book of Enoch. The question results from a citation found in Jude Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men saying, 'Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints' Jude Jude records a prophecy made by Enoch, who lived before the flood of Noah. Enoch predicted the coming of the Lord to judge wicked individuals. The Apostle Paul wrote of this same judgment 2 Thessalonians This prophecy made by Enoch is not recorded in the Old Testament.
Two questions arise: 1 Where did Jude obtain his information? During the period between the testaments the Book of Enoch was written. It contains this prophecy. Some assume that Jude obtained this prophecy from the Book of Enoch, but this is not the case. Jude does not quote from the Book of Enoch but rather directly from Enoch. This could have been by means of special revelation from God or from some now unknown written source.
The source of Jude's quotation was the person Enoch. Where the Book of Enoch derived his information is another matter. It is possible that the source of the quotation found in the Book of Enoch was Jude, since there is no evidence as to the precise contents of the Book of Enoch until several centuries after Jude was written.
Whatever the answer may be. It is not necessary to assume that Jude considered the Book of Enoch as authoritative. Since we believe that Jude's writing was inspired by God, we take this information as being correct. It is not essential to know how Jude obtained this information. Jesus had promised that His disciples would be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who would guide them into all truth. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak John Because of Jesus' promise, the words of the New Testament writers were safeguarded from error.
We conclude that Jude did not quote from the Book of Enoch, but received the information in some other way. Throughout the history of the church many documents surfaced that claimed to have been written by the apostles or those intimately familiar with the life of Christ. However these works were written by someone other than the named author. These fraudulent works are known as the pseudepigrapha forgeries. They are also known as apocryphal works, and were rejected by all.
The early church father, Eusebius, called these books "totally absurd and impious. Other Gospels Among the forgeries were a large number of apocryphal or false gospels. Origen, a third century writer, testified to the existence of other gospels when he wrote,"There are many who have tried to write gospels, but not all have been accepted.
The apocryphal gospels are non-canonical writings of a motley variety about the purported deeds and revelations of Jesus Christ. Though the Greek word apocrypha originally meant "hidden," the church fathers used it to describe spurious writings foisted as gospels. Irenaeus refers to 'an unspeakable number of apocryphal and spurious writings, which they themselves i. Gnostic Influence Many of these works were influenced by gnosticism. The word gnostic means "one who has knowledge. The gnostic view of God is contrary to the Bible. In addition, the gnostics considered that all matter is evil.
An example of gnostic writing can be found in the Gospel of Philip. The original Gospel of Philip was probably written sometime during the second century A. The influence of gnosticism and its emphasis on secret knowledge can be clearly seen in this work. The Gospel of Philip reads,. The Logos said: If you know the truth the truth will make you free. Ignorance is a slave, knowledge is freedom.
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When we recognize the truth we shall find the fruits of truth in our hearts. If we unite with it, we will bring our fulfillment. Different Level Other statements show that they are on a different level than Scripture.
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A Gentile man does not die, for he has never lived that he should die. Adam came into being from two virgins, from the Spirit and from the virgin earth. Because of this Christ was born of a virgin, in order that he might set in order the stumbling which came to pass at the beginning.
Second-Hand Sources The pseudepigrapha, apart from being forgeries, were also written long after, in some cases hundreds of years after, the New Testament events. The writers were not eyewitnesses to the life of Christ or to the events of the early church. This is another reason to reject the testimony which they give. Gospel of Thomas One of the most prominent of all the forgeries is the Gospel of Thomas. Consisting of sayings of Jesus, it is the most extensive collection of non-biblical sayings of Jesus that still exist.
The Gospel of Thomas begins as follows:. These are the secret words which the living Jesus spoke and Didymus Judas Thomas wrote. And He said: Whosoever finds the explanation of these words shall not taste death. Incorrect Name The author is not Thomas. In the four Gospels, Thomas is referred to as either Didymus or Thomas, not both at once. Didymus is the word for "twin" in both Greek and Aramaic, so the author of the Gospel of Thomas must not have been aware of this linguistic connotation. Secret Approach The secret approach found in the Gospel of Thomas is typical of the writings of the gnostics.
The four Gospels are open about the ways of salvation and the kingdom of God while the Gospel of Thomas views truth from a hidden vantage point. There is no historical setting for the statements. The Gospel of Thomas is a compilation of sayings without the inclusion of important historical events as recorded in the Gospels. We are not told when or under what circumstances the statements were made.
Contradicts Four Gospels Many of the sayings are contradictory to those we have in the Gospels. For example, saying says:. Jesus said, 'See, I shall lead her, so that I will make her male, that she too may become a living spirit, resembling you males. For every woman who makes herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
In the Gospel of Thomas He is one who points the way by which an individual can attain the knowledge of God. These reasons demonstrate that the Gospel of Thomas is a forgery rather than a legitimate work written by one of Jesus' apostles. Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ One alternative explanation of the life and ministry of Jesus that has caused considerable interest is the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ.
This work was written by Levi Dowling The result is a contradictory mixture of Christian science and occultic thought. The name is derived from the astrological idea that a new Aquarian age has come upon us, bringing with it the need for a new spiritual gospel, the Aquarian gospel. Some of the material in the Aquarian Gospel is borrowed from the ancient Gospel of James, a well-known forgery in the early years of the church.
The most prominent part of the book deals with the education and travel of Jesus. According to the Aquarian Gospel, Jesus first studied under the Jewish teacher Hillel and then went to India to spend time with their holy men. His learning also supposedly took Him to Tibet, Persia. Assyria, Greece, and Egypt. It was in Egypt that Jesus was said to have joined the sacred brotherhood.
He passed through seven degrees and emerged as the Logos. In Alexandria a council of seven sages was held where they formulated seven great religious postulates and ordained Jesus for the work of the ministry. The Aquarian Gospel then rewrites the four gospels according to its own particular viewpoint. The end of the story has Jesus appearing in a materialized body to people in India, Persia, Greece, and other countries.
Evaluation Like many previous attempts, the Aquarian Gospel attempts to give an explanation of the wisdom and character of Jesus apart from the biblical depiction. Dowling's reconstruction shows obvious borrowing from the Ancient Gospel of James, as well as familiarity with a nineteenth century works, Notovitch's Unknown Life of Jesus Christ. The book begins with an historical inaccuracy: "Augustus Caesar reigned and Herod Antipas was ruler in Jerusalem.
A crucial problem with the Aquarian Gospel concerns its scenario of the source of Jesus' teachings. If Jesus obtained His wisdom from the masters of India, Greece, and other countries, then why doesn't His teaching reflect it? The teachings of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels, are in direct conflict with every central belief of Hinduism, Buddhism, and the other religions with which He supposedly came into contact! The simple fact is that we have in the Gospels a firsthand account of the life and ministry of Jesus.
The Aquarian Gospel is a false portrait of the life of Christ, not based upon historical records or eyewitness testimony but rather upon the recollections of an ancient forgery and the imagination of a twentieth-century writer. It has no value whatsoever in providing new or accurate information on the life of Christ.
The work is also known as the "Report of Pilate" or "Archko Library. Its existence can be traced back to Rev. The success of the "Report of Pilate" led Mahan to make some more "discoveries" including: an interview with the shepherds who were given the announcement of Christ's birth, Gamaliel's interview with Joseph and Mary, Eli's story of the Magi, and other previously unknown interviews surrounding the life and ministry of Jesus. Mahan claimed these "interviews" were translated from ancient manuscripts in Rome or Constantinople.
The picture of Jesus in his interview with Pilate is romantic and theatrical, and the Pilate reflected in the "Report" is historically improbable. The whole work is a weak, crude fancy, a jumble of high-sounding but meaningless words, and hardly worth serious criticism. It is difficult to see how it could have deceived anyone The supposed references to Josephus's Jewish Wars The statement that Josephus in his Antiquities refers to Jesus in more than fifty places is false That Tacitus wrote his history of Agricola in A.
However, there have been many shifts in the way apocalyptic literature functions in the modern era, particularly in the way in which it is read. As Bart D. For contemporary readers of apocalyptic literature in the Bible, it was used directly to create hope for them in the face of ongoing Christian persecution, whereas the apocalyptic literature seen in popular culture is far more concerned about the future of society.
The first use of the atom bomb in Hiroshima led to the instant obliteration of 60, buildings within a three mile radius, and between 64, to , people died from mechanical, thermal or radiation injuries Phillip M. Boffey, p. The video game, Fallout 3 explores a post-apocalyptic civilization following the outbreak of full scale nuclear warfare in the year Set in the ruins of Washington, D.
Another fear in modern society which has been translated into popular culture is the increasing concern about climate change leading to a cataclysmic environmental apocalypse. The film Soylent Green , based off the novel Make Room! Make Room! Similarly, films such as and The Day After Tomorrow take the theme of climate change and use identical imagery to what is seen in Revelation to depict what an environmental apocalypse could look like.
However, the key difference between Revelation and modern apocalyptic literature is that modern apocalyptic literature especially films typically dissociate themselves from the spiritual themes and messages of Revelation, instead preferring to focus on the resilience of humanity as a race. One of the rare cases in which an environmental apocalypse is depicted on the big screen with an anxiety of contemporary Bible readers is in the science-fiction film Interstellar.
While the imagery of the apocalypse has remained remarkably similar over the course of two-thousand years, the function of apocalyptic literature has drastically shifted from providing hope for its readers by promising a return to a golden age to casting doubts and projecting fear about the future.
Boffey, Philip M. Ehrman, Bart D. Pinkerton, Nick. Borg, HarperSanFrancisco, , pp. Reagan, David R. I am from here in Auckland, out west in Waimauku, and I am currently studying medicinal chemistry. I am not entirely sure what I want to do at the end of my degree, but I am looking into post graduate studies and potentially going into research.
This was one of my General Education papers, and I chose it because although I am a Christian and have spent a year at a Bible college, I thought it would be really cool to study how the Bible and some of its specific themes are portrayed in pop culture. I have really enjoyed how much THEOREL has made me think about things in a different light, consider the way that people use the bible, and the implications that this can have on both our interpretation of it and also the way that society thinks about a whole range of issues.
It has challenged me a lot because I am used to science papers where the answers are right and wrong, black and white — but this has helped broaden my horizons and think more deeply, so thank you very much for that! We all need a hero, someone to look to for meaning and purpose. As secularisation increases, more people are turning away from religion Statistics New Zealand, , yet still have a sense of needing something greater than themselves, a hope in the midst of despair.
Filmmakers draw upon this implicit human need of a saviour, and create characters that portray many of these ideals. In this essay I will show how Dr Strange fits traditional monomythic standards, albeit in a flawed way. I will also explain how the film exemplifies a shift in the monomyth coinciding with current changes in the attitudes and beliefs of society today. The American Monomyth is based on biblical messiahs — human political or military leaders in the Old Testament, chosen by God to defeat earthly enemies 1 Sam The New Testament messiah was Jesus, chosen by God to bring spiritual, rather than physical salvation Eph Often the monomyth centres around physical salvation from an earthly enemy, however in the case of Dr Strange, the enemy is both physical and spiritual, evidenced by the focus on supernatural powers, other realms of reality, and death.
These dark powers come to earth and battle against Dr Strange in different dimensions. Through the common spiritual type of enemy being faced, we can see a link between Dr Strange and the New Testament messiah, Jesus. Although not strictly part of the monomyth, this can help frame Strange as having aspects of his character that can be compared to biblical messiahs in both the Old and New Testaments. In this sense he does not fit with this aspect of the traditional monomyth.
After a car crash off a cliff, Dr Strange damages his hands beyond repair, and when modern medicine fails, seeks other methods. Upon reaching Kamar-Taj, he learns to use powers which can be harnessed for good or evil. Thus Strange is not just talented, but seems to have a propensity for magic that surpasses other humans. The postmodern definition of a character becoming a saviour is represented by Dr Strange and exemplifies how cultural changes affect in film and media.
However I argue that although this aspect fits a more contemporary monomyth, Dr Strange still encompasses traditional monomythic ideas, showing a period of transition in film, rather than the final result of postmodern change. One reason for this is because in addition to Strange developing his powers and reaching his potential through his own struggles, he is also anointed in the sense of a biblical messiah.
The anointing of Strange not only links back to the anointing of kings and priests in the Old Testament, it also reflects that of Jesus at his baptism Matt The contrast between Jesus and Dr Strange is also seen in that Jesus had disguised origins, born of a virgin in a humble and unassuming place — a stable Luke The origins of his life and resurrection after death show that Jesus was both human and divine, which contrasts with the humanity of Dr Strange. These aspects show how the way in which Dr Strange fulfils the unusual origins contrasts with biblical messiahs, yet meets postmodern and traditional monomyth requirements.
Dr Strange is fully human, and so just as we face temptations daily, Strange is tempted by career success, relationships, and victory over death. He tells Strange that if he draws power from the Dark Dimension he can escape death and live forever. Just as Jesus refused to yield to temptations in Luke 13 food, water, and power over all the earth , Dr Strange refuses to succumb to the allure of eternal life, instead fighting for what he knows is right.
The temptation that Dr Strange faces and his response to it shows that he fulfils the monomyth aspect of withstanding temptation. The motivation for this sacrifice is commonly a zeal for justice; the hero longs to see evil conquered and good prevail. Jesus Christ is this perfect saviour figure in the bible, who gave his life so that death would be destroyed Mark , John Dr Strange does make sacrifices, but he is not a perfect saviour figure as he initially does not want to have anything to do with helping the greater good.
We see that this transition to sacrificial behaviour has become more complete as Strange speaks to Dormammu in the Dark Dimension and is prepared to face pain and dying for all eternity so that others can live. Strange goes from initially only caring for himself and what would benefit him, to making choices based on the survival of the universe. The change in his attitudes signifies his transition from just another talented human, to a saviour and messiah figure.
Although there are similarities between the sacrificial behaviour of Strange and Jesus as messiahs, there is a key difference. Jesus remained the same, assured of his calling and his identity. Strange, however, undergoes a journey of not only saving the universe, but also of discovering himself. Overall, Dr Strange has proved to display many of the characteristics of a messiah figure.
He is anointed, chosen for the redemptive task of saving the universe. He also resists temptations and makes sacrifices for the greater good of his community, regardless of the cost to himself as he loses his old way of life so that others may live without fear. Although Strange is chosen, we still see a struggle and a change in his attitudes from self-service to that of true justice.
For these reasons I can conclude that Dr Strange is a true representation of our cultural change, and he is our Strange New-Age Messiah. Kozlovic, A.
Australian Religion Studies Review , 13 1 , The Structural Characteristics of the Cinematic Christ-figure. Journal of Religion and Popular Culture , 8 1. Lawrence, S. The Myth of the American Superhero. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. Eerdmans Publishing Co. McAteer, J.
Fighting Scientism with the Occult in Doctor Strange. Overstreet, J. Porter, S. In Porter, S. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis , 21 1 , Statistics New Zealand. I was inspired to write this essay after completing papers on the history of art, in particular, Ways of Seeing Contemporary Art, also Understanding Contemporary Art Practice.
On graduating, I hope to join a local primary school and assist children with their reading skills. I live on the North Shore and enjoy the lifestyle of sun and sea. I chose the Bible and Pop Culture paper to look at the many ways in which the Bible influences contemporary art and film, and also to learn more about the Bible stories. The depiction of The Virgin Mary has been of particular interes t to me throughout my studies in Art History. I will discuss the biblical portrayal of the Virgin Mary and compare it with some of her contemporary afterlives.
They are three artworks, where the creators have had a religious background and the reaction from viewers to the artworks has been strong. I will highlight the public reaction to these works, where the Virgin Mary was depicted in non-traditional ways. In these less religious times, today, Mary is often depicted according to contemporary values, which can provoke great controversy Tsironis. The four Gospels all give different accounts of Mary, but the Gospels of Luke and John give the most complete picture Carlson.
During her pregnancy, Mary left her home town of Nazareth to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was also pregnant Luke 1. Later, Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born and placed in a manger Luke 2. Luke also records the visit of Mary and Joseph to Jerusalem to present their son at the Temple Luke 2. Then, when Jesus reached the age of twelve, the family travelled to Jerusalem for the Passover, but he disappeared and Mary and Joseph had to search for three days, before they found him at the Temple, where he was teaching Luke 2.
Luke also confirms that Mary was very happy to serve God Luke 2. Similarly, we need to refer to the Gospel of John to find confirmation that Mary was present at the Crucifixion of her Son John John also includes the miracle at the wedding in Cana, where Jesus turns water into wine, at the request of his mother John 2. However, the traditional image of Mary has been built up by later artistic interpretations of her role as the Mother of God.
Ever since the biblical accounts of the Virgin Mary were written, years ago, she has been a very popular figure in the history of Christianity, being depicted in many religious artworks, such as portraits and statues, throughout Europe. Her portrayal in the Bible has been taken as a base image and revised over the centuries by many artists and churches Badley. Artists have depicted her in certain traditional formats, from the breastfeeding Mother of God to the Queen of Heaven Badley.
By the twentieth century, Europe had become a much more secular society and, as a result, respect for Mary had weakened further. This is the background that has led to some modern artists depicting the Virgin Mary in ways that appear to be disrespectful. My three examples of less respectful contemporary depictions of the Virgin Mary all caused controversy when they first appeared.
My first example is a painting by British artist, Chris Ofili, who was educated at a Catholic school and became known in the s for his paintings of black men and women Nesbitt 9. However, he was also well known for including elephant dung and pornographic images in his paintings Nesbitt In , he mixed all of these elements together, to create a painting called The Holy Virgin Mary Many people thought that he had gone too far with his large painting of a black Virgin Mary, which included small erotic images and highlighted her breast in elephant dung.
The painting was displayed in a major exhibition in London and Berlin, without too much upset Nesbitt But, when the exhibition was moved to New York, in , the painting was condemned by the Catholic Mayor of the city and the local Cardinal Archbishop. The Mayor threatened to hold back the funding for the Brooklyn Art Museum, despite never actually seeing the offending painting Nesbitt The publicity generated in the press by the furore resonated around the world. The episode was only defused when a Federal Judge ruled that censorship of the Ofili painting was not an option Nesbitt In , Mary was portrayed holding a pregnancy test kit and appeared to be shocked by the result.
There was no caption on the billboard, as the vicar wanted viewers to put forward suitable suggestions. My final contemporary artwork is called The Virgin Mother, , a large bronze sculpture, which was created by British postmodern artist, Damien Hirst. It is a three metre tall statue of a pregnant woman, with the layers of skin and flesh cut away on one side to display a baby inside her womb. Niki Tsironis records that this statue was prominently placed in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, in This Hirst sculpture has since been purchased by an American multi-millionaire, who relocated and placed it in his estate in New York.
However, in , he was forced to cover The Virgin Mother with a large tarpaulin, because of complaints from his neighbours Massive Damien Hirst. In conclusion, it is interesting that these three provocative art depictions of the Virgin Mary were all created by people who had a religious background. The two artists grew up in Catholic homes and the creator of the billboard was an Anglican vicar. When compared with the biblical image of the modest Virgin Mary, I would agree that these three contemporary artworks are very controversial.
These three controversial artworks were all created by people who, besides having a religious background, appear to be independent thinkers. However, they and their artworks could simply be a reflection of contemporary postmodern thinking, as claimed by Tsironis Badley, Jo-Ann. Madonna in Art , Bible Odyssey, www. Accessed 30 Sept. Bowler, Gerry. Carlson, Stephen C. Nesbitt, Judith. New Revised Standard Version. Bible Odyssey, www.
Tsironis, Niki. Cunningham, Ashgate Publishing, , pp. I have just finished my second year of a highly employable Bachelor of Arts majoring in Ancient History and Psychology. I chose to write about fashion and religion in my essay because of my love for fashion as evidenced through my bank statements as well as my interest in consumerism and capitalism.
This essay was very enjoyable to write and I hope that anyone reading it can find a point or two amidst my excessive shoe descriptions that gets them to stop and think. Fashion and religion are both major influences in society as they explicitly and implicitly impact the way we think, feel, and act. When these two important bodies crash and merge in popular culture, a whole new set of meanings and implications emerge. Throughout history, clothing has been used for far more than to cover our bodies, it has held political, social, sexual, and economic implications Schmidt Within religion, these implications still hold strong and clothing is given a whole new set of meanings in this context.
However, these meanings were challenged through new interpretations of religious dress at the Met Gala, one of the biggest fashion events in Western society. Religion has also made its way into the fashion world via the unexpected area of lingerie. Within all major religions, dress has been used to serve the purpose of establishing and enforcing ideologies and hierarchies Arthur Historically, for members and followers of the church, modesty is viewed as an important value that should be displayed through clothing, particularly for women.
Thus, the excessive display of flesh is not encouraged and clothing should act to cover the body ibid. The colour and type of clothing also mattered; during the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, vibrant and luxurious clothing was condemned. Instead, sombre dress was encouraged as it reflected the Christian focus on salvation and redemption ibid.
The Catholic clergy also reflect the significance of dress through the different colours and items worn by members of different priestly rankings. At the bottom of the hierarchy are priests, who wear black, above them are bishops who wear violet, then cardinals in scarlet, and finally the pope, who is dressed in white.
On top of colour, slight differences in their everyday dress from the hats they wear to the laces on their shoes are also used to display their differences in rank. Interestingly, these differences are not simply used to differentiate between clerical positions, but also hold religious symbolism Bolton et al The white that is associated with the pope represents purity and sanctity that only he is worthy of Arthur From these examples, we can see that clothing has important meanings and functions within the church.
The Met Gala is a charity event that has been running for 73 years and is arguably the most anticipated fashion event every year Hoffower This year, the outfits worn by the celebrities at the event unreservedly exceeded expectations as they were amazing examples of how religion can be interpreted in fashion. Many celebrities also chose to reference specific religious figures, like the Virgin Mary in her manifestation as the lady of sorrows. However, we do not see any modestly clothed and grieving Marys as depicted in religious art; instead, we see bejewelled Marys in thousand-dollar designer outfits.
Explicitly, these outfit choices may be a way to further indicate the superior or divine status of these celebrities. Thus, by associating themselves with powerful and respected religious figures at this exclusive event, their status is further elevated. These celebrities, like the religious figures we worship, are out of reach and our only contact with them should be through our worshipping and idolizing of them. Furthermore, there may be a cultural function of holding up western ideals. The theme of the Met gala creates an idealization of certain of religion, and the choice of Catholicism raises questions like: is Catholicism better?
Or more red-carpet ready than other religions in the world? Additionally, when Catholicism was chosen as a theme for the most exclusive fashion event in Western society, its superiority and authority are reinforced. This can function to further the dominant role of Western ideas, standards, and beliefs in modern society. Thus, not only do these dazzling Marys represent a beautiful crossing over of religion and high fashion, they also function to reinforce the status of both the attendants and modern Western ideologies. Some of the outfits at the gala were particularly memorable as they managed to implicitly challenge the norms and ideologies of the church while being high fashion.
The halo was common amongst other celebrities and its meaning was straightforward, associating its wearer with holiness. Thus, it was her durag that stood out. The durag is dated back to the nineteenth century and was originally worn by slaves to keep their hair back. During this movement, the durag became a popular accessory amongst African American youth and it is still used today White and Hertz This juxtaposition of opulence with a symbol of slavery and later street culture captivates onlookers while sending a very important message.
With her outfit, Solange reminds us that heaven is not white like it is commonly depicted and interpreted. Her outfit also disrupts and challenges the white dominance in religious art and imagery while celebrating the existence and importance of women of colour in religion Edwards Just like a biblical prophet, Solange disturbs our sense of normalcy and challenges the cultural status quo Borg Another memorable outfit was the one worn by Rihanna who came dressed as a pope.
Here, she juxtaposes the purity of the colour white with the opulence of diamonds and gems. To further her pope garb, she wore a matching and unsurprisingly bejewelled papal tiara, which is traditionally worn by popes when they are coronated or during special ceremonies. More than just a popular piece of fashion, the shoes became meaningful when paired with her pope attire. Christian Louboutin shoes have an iconic red sole and are notoriously difficult and painful to wear despite their price.
The red bottoms stand out against her predominantly white outfit and the biblical association of the colour red with sin Isiah juxtaposes against the association of white with purity Revelation ;18; ; ; ; Hence, it is as if Rihanna is replicating the painful struggle women have endured in their fight for equality. The implicit meanings of her outfit as a whole are endless. Thus, these powerful outfits worn by Solange and Rihanna show that for one night, fashion challenged religion. One specific aspect of religion that has surprisingly found its way into fashion is the concept of angels.
In the Bible, angels are described as powerful creations of God, who act as his messengers and are faithful to him Daniel ; Colossians ; Revelation There is no unanimous description of their physical attributes in the Bible and examples of their appearance include the form of a male human and a form that causes fear in people Genesis Hebrews , Matthew Contrary to popular belief and depiction, these angels are also very rarely described as having wings and when they do, they tend to have six of them Isaiah The lack of a consistent angelic form in the Bible thus allowed a lot of room for creativity for early Christian artists Marshall and Walsham Yet, from the fourth century onwards, most artists gravitated towards depicting angels with two wings, and having a saintly androgynous nature.
Here, the angels are in fact successful female models with a huge social following Opelka This ideal of a perfect woman being both sexy and heavenly then produces an unattainable ideal for women. This is known as capitalist spirituality, where religious themes are exploited for the benefit of the corporation Liegghio By dressing their models up like angels while in lingerie, the brand gives them a divine quality while retaining their sex appeal ibid.
Their giant soft white wings, contrasted with their sultry appearance creates a seemingly otherworldly and ethereal attraction. This exclusivity adds to their appeal as it causes them to appear desirable. In conclusion, the fashion world has used religion creatively to send its messages. The Met Gala displayed the omnipotent powers of fashion using religion as its medium.
The Gala showed that now, fashion is in charge, what is right and wrong is told by Vogue, not by the Vatican Wynne and Janssens As a result, it is undeniable that the fashion world has redefined religion because now, our popes wear Prada, and our angels are in lingerie. Anderson, Elizabeth. Updated Dec 2, Arthur, Linda B. Religion, Dress and the Body. Dress and the Body Series. Oxford: Berg, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. New York: Yale University Press, Borg, Marcus J.
Reading the Bible again for the first time: Taking the Bible seriously but not literally. New York: Harper San Francisco, Now, if we are even going to survive as a species, then we need to get the hell out of here and we need to start having babies BSG: The Miniseries. One of the prominent features of apocalyptic literature is the idea that people fighting on the side of good are an oppressed minority resisting evil legions and that, as such, their self- righteous actions are justified Stevenson It is well known that until Emperor Constantine granted freedom of religion with the Edict of Milan in A.
Interestingly, in both series, the notion of oppressed minority repeatedly shifts perspective. In Caprica, monotheists are the minority, and Sister Clarice, through a series of fallacious self- justifications, rationalises mass murder and suicide bombing in the name of her religion. The narrative reveals that Cylons grew in numbers and went from minority as enslaved robots and as the followers of a new fringe religion to oppressors of the human race, which they attempted to exterminate.
Persecution is foretold in Luke 6. Both dramas, then, reveal that the monotheists as well as the Cylons are not collectively duped by the ideology they convey. A select few will be reborn, those who have accepted the One true God into their hearts. Only they will savour life everlasting in a virtual heaven that we have built. After discovering that she can manipulate the computer code of V-World to suit her needs, the Zoe Graystone-Avatar declares that she is God on two different occasions CAP 1x16 and 1x The Book of 22 Their Resurrection ship grants Cylons immortal lives by automatically downloading their consciousness into a brand new copied body once the previous one has been destroyed.
One of the more enlightened Cavil copies, after spending some time on planet Caprica with the human resistance, completely demythologises Cylon spirituality and the way Cylons hide behind a pseudo-religion to perpetrate genocide by confronting a more fundamentalist Cavil copy aboard the Battlestar ship: Fleet-Cavil: Do you really believe it was a mistake to attack the humans? Caprica-Cavil: Rather intensely, yes. They belong to the realm of the profane and constitute a mixed expression of hubris and neurosis. We ultimately learn the true source of his self-centred desire to punish the humans: he deeply resents them for creating him as a limited robotic being who could not perceive the wonders of the universe the way he secretly wished to.
It takes time before her teenage fury evolves into a sense of her true purpose and a desire to use her newfound power to manipulate the computer code in order to reshape V-World into a better place by purifying it. I want to see gamma rays. I want to hear x-rays and I want to … I want to smell dark matter. Do you see the absurdity of what I am? But I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws … and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me BSG 4x By infusing recurring religious references within the secular discourse, both series strive to re-establish the promise of the kingdom.
Only then, once their abrupt finality has been erased, will death and sacrifice become acceptable. Conclusion To conclude, both Battlestar Galactica and Caprica combine religious elements with secular elements. In its nuclear manifestation, the Cylon-triggered apocalypse is clearly secular in nature, but the characters and motifs used bear strong similarities with the defining features of religious apocalypticism in general and directly echo the storyline of the Book of Revelation in particular.
One of the recurring archetypes conveyed by apocalyptic literature and cinema is the opposition between individualism and collectivism. Going beyond the fallacious justifications provided by both series for the apocalypse endured by its human characters, one of the questions that Battlestar Galactica repeatedly asks is why should humans survive the apocalypse and be saved?
The unexpected answer provided is that they should not. By accepting otherness, in whatever form it might present itself, and by choosing collectivism and tolerance. Likewise, in Battlestar Galactica, after having fought each other for the better part of four seasons, Cylons and humans finally overcome their racist prejudices and hatred of each other to find a middle ground and live together harmoniously. Illustratively, in Battlestar Galactica, the path set after the apocalypse is a journey of initiation, of progressive enlightenment, a spiritual Bildungsroman for the characters.
The Apocalyptic Imagination. Tramplin, eds. Joseph Smith, Jr. We still commit murder because of greed and spite, jealousy, and we still visit all of our sins upon our children. We refuse to accept the responsibility for anything that we've done, like we did with the Cylons. We decided to play God, create life.
And when that life turned against us, we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that it really wasn't our fault, not really. You cannot play God then wash your hands of the things that you've created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can't hide from the things that you've done anymore BSG: The Miniseries. September 9, Originality and creativity in the approach of thought and of texts are crucial for us: to enhance and to promote these aspects will be our contribution to the tremendous range of existing academic publications.
The Apocalypse in Theory and Culture and Ghosts in the Flesh, both of which we tried to bring together in the choice of our cover image for this issue. Thanks are due to those who submitted abstracts and articles for consideration as well as peer reviewers, copy editors and proof readers of the following publication process. We thank all of them for their hard work to keep up the quality of the journal.
On a personal note, we must say farewell to several of our members. Krista Bonello Rutter Giappone and Guillaume Collett, who were very active in the last conferences, leave Skepsi after many years of good and loyal service. Maureen Kinkaid Speller, who devoted much of her time in the copy-editing team, has also turned a new page.
We wish them all well. We would also like to thank two new editorial assistants, Sabina Sitoianu and Louise Willis, for helping us with the technical aspects of assembling the issue and proof reading.