Jesus and Heterodoxy in Late Antiquity Art

There's been a lot of discussion on Twitter about this post: PhDiva: An Early Image of Jesus

I think we have to give the excavators the time to publish and not work off a local press article, but a lot of very good points have been made, particularly by Douglas Boin - see his Twitter feed and mine for more.

Boin pointed us to this cup found in a non-church context, and which he discussed in his recent book on Ostia in Late Antiquitity:

(more photos here).

I have been a long-term fan of Niels Hannestad and his students in Scandinavia, who have done much work to show that not all good quality sculptures are necessarily Roman rather than Late Antique. Whilst I've only dipped into Boin's book, it has now gone onto my Wish List for including such fascinating information as this:

That Jewish vs convert Christian debates such as this were still going on at the time is fascinating.

The other side of the equation is that there were also heads of Alexander the Great being produced in the late 5th century AD; this head was excavated at Ostia (and stolen from the museum, so if you find it, let me know).

This head is obviously late, and both Rome and Ostia were no longer the important cities they had once been.

 It gets a lot trickier when it comes to the 4th and early 5th century in Athens, which still had important Philosophical Schools. The Agora dates the finds from the Omega House to the 3rd century, an increasing number of scholars see them as much later.

Late Antique art was often dismissed as crude, a degeneration of Ancient Art, but increasing work by some brilliant scholars is showing that the truth is slightly less orthodox.

1 comment:

  1. These are the panels that accompany the piece at the Museum of Linares:
    - http://api.ning.com/files/jPvKO*I18G-95sxh-P2*KPCso0HCBNHlVT-FBroAi2jmLIo1BMxmuODLVx032dh-OVe70MqE9t1VyexUjBWlQdWfHuTLeWk9/10685394_10203659420018886_867202342617723024_n.jpg
    - http://api.ning.com/files/jPvKO*I18G90Jxa6ILau1L6RDuTctzQYl9WozAV8BkwJTA-TZuHWvoq7RTI7VVIuc*cCLzXxZHk9AylDOPFbrPLmWaFKg7yA/10646820_10203659420098888_3414148426350681918_n.jpg
    They indicate that the piece has appeared in a historical context. It was located inside one of the rooms of a building used for religious worship, erected in the second half of the fourth century AD and abandoned about a century later. For its quality can come from the workshops of Ostia. And finally presents some iconographic parallels:

    - Paten fourth century found in the Spanish Levant
    - Bowl base of Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio
    - Bowl Base with Christ Giving Martyrs' Crowns to Saints Peter and Paul in the Met
    More information on this page (in Spanish):
    Forvm MMX project Twitter:


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