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The Oxford Dictionary of Christian Art and Architecture [Hardcover]

Aaron Rosen , Tom Devonshire Jones , Linda Murray , Peter Murray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 35.00
Price: 31.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 Sep 2013
The Oxford Dictionary of Christian Art and Architecture explains a wide range of terms used in the study of the history of Christian art and architecture including subjects, topics, themes, artists, works, movements, and buildings. This long-awaited new edition of Peter and Linda Murray's classic text continues to provide an invaluable, authoritative, and engaging guide to interpreting Christian Art both for students and teachers of the subject, as well as non-specialists or those without a formal education in Christianity.

The new editor, the Reverend Tom Devonshire Jones, has been aided by over a dozen expert contributors, fully updating the text for the new century. Areas that have been expanded upon include the artwork, artists, and innovations of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries (such as the relationship between Christianity and film). Coverage includes art from around the world, with new entries upon the Christian art of North America, Latin America, Australasia, and of the non-Western world, as well as Christian artistic interactions with other religions, including Judaism and Islam.

The detailed bibliography has been heavily revised and updated, increasing the number of sources cited and expanding on sources relevant to the study of non-traditional Christian art. The updated bibliography will be placed on a companion webpage to the Dictionary, which will also feature an appendix of web links to sites of relevant interest.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 2 edition (26 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199680272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199680276
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.4 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 916,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


The editor and his editorial board are to be commended for their diligence and innovations in revisiting both this expansive topic and revising a classic. (Art and Christianity)

This wonderful book explains and defines many of the terms used in the study of Christian art and architecture in an easy-to-read style and handy format. (Catholic Herald)

Tom Devonshire Jones has breathed new life into what was already an excellent resource from Peter and Linda Murray. It's the sort of book that belongs on most everyone's shelf. (Transpostions)

It is impossible to over praise this book. (Sister Wendy Beckett)

Clear, succinct, and enthralling. (The Tablet)

About the Author

The late Peter Murray FSA and Linda Murray FSA were well-known art historians with over 30 years' teaching experience, and several books written in collaboration, as well as those written independently. Peter Murray was Professor of the History of Art at Birkbeck College, in the University of London, from 1967 until his retirement in 1980. Linda Murray taught art history in the University of London Extra-Mural Department from 1949 to 1979.

Tom Devonshire Jones studied Classics and Theology at Oxford, always with an eye on the art of Antiquity and Christianity. Since ordination in the Church of England in 1960 the interactions of art and religion have been a feature of his parish and campus ministries in England and the United States. He is the founder of Art and Christianity Enquiry (acetrust.org), and he is married and lives in London.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very useful book, but where are the pictures? 27 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have used the first edition of this book for a number of years of art history study with the OU: it has been immensely useful in sorting out specific queries and is an interesting browse for those interested in art history and/or Christianity. I was keen to see the new edition.

Certainly, this is an attractively printed and bound book. A definite improvement over its predecessor is in the size of the font and the clarity of its layout, much easier to read for ageing eyes. No one interested in this area would be disappointed by the new edition which at least covers the same field as the older book and with some additions. Except, of course, there are no illustrations, or diagrams: odd, even extraordinary in a book about art and architecture!

The preface assures the reader that everything has been updated and expanded, particularly in relation to a wider area of geographical inclusiveness and more contemporary coverage. I'm sure that this is so, but I have to say that in spending some time with the two volumes side by side, I could spot only two textual differences in the inevitably restricted areas I explored: the presence of 'primitivism' as a new entry and the shifting of 'abacus' from the old architectural glossary to the main body, a very sensible change. The bibliography has been extended, we are reassured, but that is now online and not within this book. (Why not in both forms?)

Unfortunately, the new editon is also completely devoid of illustrations, something which I find both surprising and disappointing: inevitably, size constraints inhibit using too much visual material, but I would willingly sacrifice the new font size for the number and range of illustrations included in the earlier volume.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graven images 5 Dec 2013
By Withnail67 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an elegant, and some and will produce a new edition of an established reference text that will be invaluable to students of art history, all the general reader. Anyone with an interest in Christian Art and architecture, perhaps decoding/ reading the local church, all in the general visual representation of this major faith will find something rewarding in this book. There is a systematic classification of visual imagery and figurative symbolism that is easy to access and authoritative. I tested the book with its entry for Golgotha, and quickly found a reference to the visual representation of Adam's skull, which was believed to symbolise Christ's redemption of the sins of Adam and Eve by the irony of his crucifixion on Adam's grave-please excuse my clumsy summary as this isn't my subject! The entry was authoritative, detailed, and gave plenty of cross-references and connections for further reading.
Downsides are the lack of illustrations which do seem odd in a book of this nature, but would probably make the cost prohibitive. While it's a handsome read and a good addition to your reference bookshelf, there is perhaps a tinge of sadness is that can't be many more editions of books like this before electronic media take over. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good dictionary - but no illustrations 28 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a well produced quality reference book.

Inevitably there is some overlap with other dictionaries I have (Christianity: the Complete Guide and Jesus: the Complete Guide) but this is because as stated in the introduction it can no longer be taken as a given that those studying the art or architecture are familiar with the biblical accounts behind what is seen. Nor even some of the furniture and clothing used, for example even a surplice is described.

The edges are marked so can follow the alphabetical entries readily, which are cross-referenced.

It should be noted that there are no images in this work but web links are given to suitable sites. However I struggled to find help with some of the terms about architectural details such as, for example the reredos. I do wonder whether some reference to a suitable set of images might have been helpful or even the inclusion of line drawings to amplify the text? However, given that it is a matter of moments these days to check on the web for images this is not really a shortcoming.

There are some really useful longer entries spreading over two or more pages and printed on a grey background.: these include film, Gothic art, Islamic and Christian interactions in art, Jewish and Christian interactions in art, Madonna types and so on. It might have been helpful to have a separate listing of these longer mini-essays as these are useful introductions to topics on which need full books.

It is particularly helpful for those without a Christian knowledge to appreciate the purpose and significance of a lot of Christian art. However some better links on suitable illustrations particularly the architecture could have been beneficial, hence the four stars.

Those who are Christian will also find it helpful if their artistic knowledge is less developed.
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Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This excellent volume brings together in one volume a marvelous cross section of religious and artistic information. With entries covering saints, artists, symbolism, artistic movements and religious events, this is a most useful guide for anyone with an interest in Religious art and architecture. I found this book an excellent guide when studying early renaissance paintings, where the appearance on the canvas of a bird or particular flower or shrub can be decipherable by a quick dip into the appropriate entry.

This new edition also includes useful web links for those who wish to delve further. Highly recommended.
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