What is it about?

The supreme artistry of the writer and of the artist lead and challenge their audience to appreciate different levels of reality.

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Why is it important?

Works of art, whether literary, visual or, in its most positive sense, religious speak in a language which is more than everyday. Rembrandt offers both an inside and outside commentary on Luke's narrative. Testimony to this may be seen in the wide appreciation of commemorative events marking the 350th anniversary of his death, such as the BBC4 series "Looking for Rembrandt" and the exhibition "Rembrandt's Light" at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Perspectives

Fresh understandings of the Greek text (clearly presented) of Luke's "Walk to Emmaus" (24.13-31) allow a more in-depth appreciation of its meaning and a deeper insight into the dialogue between the evangelist and the artist. The analysis of the paintings, " Supper at Emmaus", "Christ at Emmaus" and "Raising of the Cross" follows Guntrip’s observation that Michelangelo’s Madonnas display an obvious continuity of unconscious process. Both Rembrandt and Luke place themselves within their work, the one explicitly the other implicitly. The genius of each provides a common ground on which belief and unbelief may converse. They leave us with their signatures, one drawn from an etching held in the Rijksmuseum, the other from the oldest extant manuscript, Codex Sinaiticus, held in the British Library. Reviews “An exceptional piece. It should go to a journal.” Oxford professor of Divinity. “The combination of psychological knowledge and a detailed and careful awareness of both the Greek and English language, together with the understanding of art, result in a deep and meditative treasure.” Bishop, Arts Society lecturer. “A genuinely original reading of the text and images.” Peer review. “Some of the ideas explored in this article are quite intriguing.” Peer review. “The analysis of the paintings demonstrates academic integrity, rooted in critical literature.” Peer review. “Beautifully written and argued.” Professor of literature and art. “I was deeply moved.” Consultant psychotherapist. “I hadn’t realised that Luke was such a gifted writer.” A classicist. "Reading the article was an Emmaus experience: like the original travellers on the road, we can know what happened but need, continuously, to open our inner eye to the deeper meanings of this great symbolic narrative: to heed the imperative ‘behold!’ This gripping and persuasive reading of the text shows how it generates in us, and in Rembrandt as a representative artist, inexhaustible spiritual, imaginative and psychological awareness that Christ, seen and unseen, is with us as a living presence." Retired psychotherapist Key Words: Guntrip, Didi-Huberman, Ricoeur, Max Milner, Arnold Erhardt, Schama, Raymond Brown, Bart D. Ehrman, Simon McNamara, Erikson, Whitaker and Lieberman, Paul Badham, Michelangelo, Unconscious, Resurrection, Codex Sinaiticus, Ripon College Cuddesdon, Edward Whitmont, Blanton Peale, Virgil, BBC4 Looking for Rembrandt.

Rev. Canon Dr. Peter Liddell
Church of England

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This page is a summary of: A SABBATH DAY’S WALK WITH TWO COMPANIONS: LUKE AND REMBRANDT, Modern Believing, October 2019, Liverpool University Press, DOI: 10.3828/mb.2019.25.
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