Images, Icons & Idols: University of Manchester, 9–10 January 2015According to Judeo-Christian theology, humans are made in the image of God, imago dei. That ‘image’ has been subject to much theological debate, and we aim to draw on these discussions in the conference. We also link such questions, including the difference (or similarity) between ‘image’ and ‘likeness’, and in what ways the image is sustained or lost, to the field of visual theologies. What does it mean to represent the (non)human or divine? How are we to ‘read’ images alongside, or contrariwise to, the written word and text-based communication? And what are the risks, if any, with a visual-based theological anthropology?
Shaping, Making & Breaking Images
The crossover between theological anthropology and visual theologies invites discussion about how we preserve, or indeed fail to preserve, that which we are imaging. When, if at all, does iconography become idolatrous? (How) should we shape and create our own images? (How) do images change over time?
Responses to these questions can address theological iconography, including the visual arts, but may also make a constructive (and/or critical) engagement with popular culture. Images of humans, nonhumans and gods abound in visual media, and each of these can be questioned in terms of shaping, making, and breaking images. This will form the focus of our plenary session, and delegates are encouraged to bear these questions in mind throughout the conference.
Images do not have to be specifically Christian; as well as images in popular culture, we also hope to explore broader theological and religious images and anthropologies.
A programme is available here.
This seems like it will be a good conference. But the real attraction of attending a conference in Manchester is, of course, the draw of visiting this most sacred of temples: