The Jazz Theologian

The Jazz Theologian


Which renaissance is ours? (p2)

posted by Robert Gelinas

When studying history, I have found it helpful to use a symbol that is representative of the subject matter.  Hans Holbein’s picture, "The Ambassadors," is the symbol that helps me summarize what The Renaissance was about.

As you look at the picture below there are a number of objects the Holbein chose to represent life in 16th century Europe.

On the lower shelf…two books, a lute, a globe of the earth, some flutes, a square and dividers.

The upper shelf contains a globe of the heavens and a sundial and various other scientific and navigational instruments.

It has been said that these instruments represent the elements of classical study such as grammar, logic, and rhetoric.  Even more specifically the basic building blocks of humanism.  The philosophy that places humans beings at the center of life and history instead of God.

We would fool ourselves if we do not think that The Renaissance is not effecting our faith today.  So much of the way we expect from church places people at the center.  When we read our Bibles we do so seeking what it is going to say to me rather than what it says about God.

This can’t be all good–hence the huge distorted skull.  Look closely, that is what the large, odd looking object is in the bottom center of the picture is.  It is folly to place that which dies (humans) at the center instead of that which is immortal (God).

(to be continued)



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