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Old Iconography, New Meanings? The “Christianized” Roman Hunt Sarcophagus of Bera in San Sebastiano ad Catacumbas.
O encontro do cristianismo com a cultura greco-romana produziu pontos de convergência e de dispersão, de aproximações e distanciamentos. Assim, o nascente pensamento cristão foi se conformando, a partir de suas origens judaicas, rumo à conjunção com as matrizes pluriculturais da tradição clássica que reunia diversos povos, línguas, crenças e culturas.  Partindo-se do texto cristão “No princípio era o Verbo, e o Verbo era Deus” (Jo 1, 1), deparamo-nos com a afirmação de Hans Belting de que, ao traduzir o amplo conceito grego de logos para a palavra latina verbum, São Jerônimo teria fundamentado a canonização da palavra para o cristianismo. A partir de então, teria se fortalecido no seio da religião a ênfase no texto e no discurso, conforme se percebe em diversas vertentes cristãs ainda na contemporaneidade.  Não obstante, não se pode esquecer que “o Verbo se fez carne, e habitou entre nós” (Jo 1, 14). Deste modo, essa “carne” pressupõe uma presença física palpável e, particularmente, visível: uma imagem. A noção latina de imago, fundamental para a antropologia cristã, encontra sustentação no próprio texto bíblico que, já no livro do Gênesis, afirma que o homem foi feito à imagem e semelhança de Deus (Gn 1, 26).  A partir de tais elementos, o cristianismo constitui-se basilarmente, portanto, como uma religião da palavra, mas também das imagens. Trata-se de uma doutrina concebida no interior da cultura clássica e, por consequência, amplamente influenciada por essa tradição.  A tradição clássica ocidental trata justamente da recepção dessa antiguidade greco-romana pelas sociedades que as sucederam. Essa recepção versa, dessa forma, sobre os textos, imagens, objetos, ideias, instituições, arquitetura, rituais e práticas culturais diversas. Em vista disso, este dossiê propõe a apresentação de artigos que tratem da cultura cristã de forma abrangente, dentro de um recorte espaço-temporal amplo, e que considerem essas relações, contatos, influências e apropriações entre a tradição clássica e a cultura cristã.     The classic and its appropriations in the Christian tradition  As Christianity met Greco-Roman culture, it created both convergence and dispersion, proximity and distance. Christian thought, therefore, was conformed among its Jewish origins and pluricultural elements from a classical tradition that gathered different people, languages, beliefs, and cultures.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God” (John 1, 1). Hans Belting stresses that when Saint Jerome translated the broad Greek concept logos into verbum, he settled the canonization of the word to Christianity. From that time on, Christian religion would stress the importance of text and speech, as we may perceive in Christian groups still nowadays.  Nevertheless, we cannot forget that “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1, 14). “Flesh” therefore implies a physical, palpable presence and, particularly, a visible one: the Latin concept of imago, essential to Christian anthropology, is justified by the biblical text itself, as already in Genesis we find out that man was made in God’s image and likeness (Gn 1, 26).  Christianity, therefore, was conceived as a religion both of words and images. As it is a doctrine conceived within the classical culture, it is, then, broadly influenced by such tradition.  Western classical tradition hinges precisely on the reception of Greco-Roman antiquity by later societies. This reception may be perceived in texts, objects, ideas, institutions, architecture, rituals, and different cultural practices. This dossier, therefore, aims to gather papers regarding Christian culture broadly, within a wide spatial-temporal frame, considering such possible relations, contacts, influences, and appropriations between classical tradition and Christian culture.
1.HOLLAENDER_Old.Iconography

Keywords

Roman Sarcophagi
Virtue
Gender
Christianity

How to Cite

Hollaender, S. (2022). Old Iconography, New Meanings? The “Christianized” Roman Hunt Sarcophagus of Bera in San Sebastiano ad Catacumbas . Figura: Studies on the Classical Tradition, 10(1), 6–47. Retrieved from https://econtents.bc.unicamp.br/inpec/index.php/figura/article/view/16003

Abstract

This article surveys the takeover of Roman Hunt Sarcophagi by Christians in Late Antiquity, with a special focus on the monument for Bera in San Sebastiano ad Catacumbas . It is typically argued that their selection of these monuments was motivated by the same “worldly” concerns as their pagan neighbours. This assumption will be challenged here by exploring the potential for resemanticization in a new Christian context, and – in the case of Bera in particular – the complex intersections of gender, virtue and religion in this period.

1.HOLLAENDER_Old.Iconography

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