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Some unwritten stories only exist in fragments. In this book, for the first time, the histories of the injunction against idolatry and the dread of infinity are uniquely woven into one. The spectre of idolatry has haunted the three Western religions since the biblical prohibition. The story of iconoclasm runs from ancient times, where Jews largely ignored the ban on images, through the iconoclastic episodes in Islam and Christianity, and into modern times during the French Revolution. A perhaps surprising thesis of this book is that a conceptual and secular form of iconoclasm continued as the revulsion of illusionism in Modern Art. More recently it flared-up in the dynamiting of two large statues of the Buddha by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. The phobia of infinity arose from Pythagoras's discovery of irrational numbers and it runs through Zeno's paradoxes and Aristotle's philosophy, with only rare cases of defiance, such as Archimedes searching for pi. The angst over infinity continued through the Middle Ages with the theological encounter of an infinite God, as in the writings of Thomas Aquinas, only to be confronted in the Renaissance philosophy of Cusa. At the same time, infinity arose unexpectedly in visual art with the discovery of linear perspective where God was identified with the vanishing point. In the 17th and 18th centuries infinity further emerged not only in the very, very large (the cosmos itself), but in the very, very small (within calculus). This paved the way in the 19th and 20th centuries for the idea of different orders of infinity codified by Georg Cantor, where the concept mingled again with theology. Math and science buffs familiar with some aspects of infinity may first learn of its link with art, as well as a long association with theology - right up to the present. With lucid visual aids for the uninitiated, this book may likewise grant the Art lover access into a previously uncharted territory - a math venture to stretch the mind.
This expansive four-volume encyclopedia presents a broad introduction to Islam that enables learning about the fundamental role of Islam in world history and promotes greater respect for cultural diversity. • Comprises concise, jargon-free entries written by experts in their fields, providing readers with accurate viewpoints that cut through the bias and controversies regarding most Islamic concepts • Supplies an authoritative introduction of Islam to Western readers that addresses the subject from historical, geographical, conceptual, and personal perspectives • Provides students with a current bibliography • Features color inserts with 16 pages of compelling images from Islam around the world in each volume
American artist Paul Ré invites us to join him on his journey for harmony, wisdom, and inner joy with Art, Peace, and Transcendence. His hybrid hand-digital prints, Réograms, are a unique art form very different from the Rayograms made in the twentieth century by the American Surrealist Man Ray. Ré’s digital prints are computer manipulations of the drawings, paintings, and sculpture he has created over his forty-year career—the transformations may be mild or dramatic, each manually massaged into a harmonious whole. Commentary by the artist, drawing from his background in physics, philosophy, and the practice of yoga and meditation, accompanies the fifty-eight full-page plates, placing each piece in its historical context. Bridging the lines of art and science, Ré takes us on a discovery of our oneness with the whole of the universe and the source from which it emerged.
"This is a very independent-minded book, wide-ranging in its examples and global in its ambitions. Our Distance from God goes its own way through point-by-point analyses of selected Christian artworks, in search of signs of the distance between the human and the divine. In the end, its broad reach does for the theology of visual monuments what David Summers's Real Spaces did for their phenomenology."—James Elkins, author of The Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art "In clear and lucid prose, James Herbert offers a new perspective on several important artistic projects–pictorial, architectural, and musical–in the Western tradition, revealing the deep tension (sometimes productive, sometimes disabling) between representations of the world empirically known to human beings and of sacred realities not 'of this world' that figure 'our distance from God.' These sacred images engage and even express the immeasurable gap between humanity and God and help us traverse or transcend it; they work between literal spatial distances and metaphysical or spiritual distances. Herbert's deft and persuasive interpretations, which shed new light on interactions between art and theological speculation, will be highly informative for a wide range of readers–in art history, musicology, cultural history, aesthetics, and religious studies."—Whitney Davis, University of California, Berkeley
Here is the compact story of this famous man, from the smiling contrarian in his grade school picture to the nonconformist adult who refused to groom his hair. As such, it fills a gap: the need for a very short book on Einstein that gives a brief but up-to-date story of his life and thought, with a simple explanation of what he contributed to 20th century physics and beyond. There is a chapter on his habitually thorny relationships with woman and close relatives. His first love, his first and second wives, his parents and his children - none of which was a painless union. The birth of an illegitimate daughter, the estrangement of his sons after divorcing his first wife, his incessant struggle with his controlling mother - all had a strong physiological effect on Einstein's personality. Next is a chapter on the young Jew struggling with self-identify, who in adulthood was unwaveringly committed to social justice that he believed was rooted in Jewish ethical values. It began with his early flirtation with Orthodox Judaism, only to be vehemently rejected by the science-obsessed teenager. Then his exposure to overt anti-Semitism when he moved to Germany was followed by his subsequent espousal (with reservations) of the Zionist movement. Lastly he moved to the USA fleeing Nazi Germany, only to be confronted with endemic racism towards African-Americans, to which he boldly spoke-out supporting the burgeoning civil rights movement. Finally, there is the scientist who expresses his ideals through his radical ideas about the physical world, as he reworked our conceptions space, time, and motion. The result was a new cosmic model of the universe that is being developed further today. As well, his commitment to an ordered and predictable universe was ultimately expressed in his final (but still unfulfilled) quest for a theory unifying all forces of nature into one whole.
This book seeks to fill a gap: the need for a very short book on Albert Einstein that gives a brief but up-to-date story of his life and thoughts, with a short and simple explanation of what he contributed to 20th century physics. Here is the compact story of this famous scientist, from the smiling contrarian in his grade school picture to the nonconformist adult who refused to groom his hair. There is a chapter on his habitually thorny relationships with women and close relatives: his first love, his two wives, his parents and his children - none of which was a painless union. The birth of an illegitimate daughter, the estrangement of his sons after the divorce from his first wife, his ever controlling mother - all had a profound psychological effect on Einstein's personality. Another chapter focuses on the young Jew struggling with his self-identify, who in adulthood was unwaveringly committed to social justice and democratic principles that he believed were rooted in Jewish ethical values. It started with his early flirtation with Orthodox Judaism, only to be vehemently rejected later when he became a science-obsessed teenager. His exposure to latent and overt anti-Semitism when he moved to Germany in 1914 led to his subsequent espousal (with misgivings) of the Zionist movement. When he moved to the USA in 1933 fleeing Nazi Germany, he was confronted with the endemic racism against African-Americans, an issue he spoke-out boldly against, as a supporter of the burgeoning civil rights movement. This work ignited the ire of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who had already opened a file on Einstein in 1932, because of his pacifist activities in Germany. When he moved to America, Hoover suspected him of being a Communist spy. Finally, there is the scientist who expressed his ideals through his radical ideas about the physical world, as he reworked our conceptions of space, time, and motion. The result was a new cosmic model of the universe that is still being developed further today. His commitment to an ordered and predictable universe was ultimately expressed in his final (but still unfulfilled) quest for a theory that unifies the forces of nature, what he called his unified field theory. Some non-scientific topics, not often found in biographies of Einstein (even the hefty tomes): - A serious consideration of his extensive ruminations on matters of politics and society. - His social efforts for the plight of Eastern European Jews after World War I, and the later work for refugees from Nazi Germany trying to immigrate to the USA. - A look at his close friendship with the African-American singer Paul Robeson, and others committed to civil rights. - The story of his acceptance and reception of an honorary degree from Lincoln University in May, 1946, the first all-black college in America. - His confrontation with the anti-Communist movement during the McCarthy era (especially Hoover and the FBI). - The key role the ideas of the 17th century Jewish philosopher Spinoza had on both Einstein's theology and his scientific thinking. Some of the highlights of Einstein's scientific pursuits found in this book: - A clear explanation, with helpful diagrams, of Einstein's famous "thought experiments." - The importance for Einstein of the interplay between theory and experiment in physics, as well as his practical side with real world technology. - His vacillation with and ultimate embrace of the role of abstract mathematics in his theory of relativity. "
What is art history? Why, how and where did it originate, and how have its aims and methods changed over time? This work is a guide to understanding art history through a critical reading of the field's most influential texts over the past two centuries.

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