I was asked to speak at the Getty Museum, in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on Thursday, September 22, 2011 during the exhibition “In the Beginning Was the Word: Medieval Gospel Illumination.”
Illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages are significant for the literary texts they preserve. But they are also important, historically and culturally, for their illustrations of the life of Jesus and other figures associated with him. These artistic representations tell tales of their own, and the visual stories are not always found in the corresponding texts. A careful examination of these images shows clearly and convincingly that medieval artists were familiar not only with the stories of the canonical Gospels but also with many noncanonical apocryphal tales of Jesus. The apocryphal stories, in some instances, were understood to be “Gospel truth” on par with accounts found in Scripture.
In any event, here is the lecture that I gave:
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Details on the “In the Beginning Was the Word: Medieval Gospel Illumination” 2011 exhibition can be found here: http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/gospel_illuminations/