David Morgan, The Embodied Eye: Religious Visual Culture and the Social Life of Feeling (Berkeley, Los Angeles, & London: University of California Press, 2012), 280 pp., ISBN: 978-0-5202-7222-4 (hardback), € 59.99. This collection of essays by the art historian and scholar of religious visual culture David Morgan represents another well-presented installment of an ongoing project. For many years, Morgan has worked toward developing a cultural-anthropological approach to the study of religious art, first, by broadening the subject matter ‘downward’ to encompass religious visual culture, and second, by integrating it into the study of material culture, emphasizing the role of images as objects. With this volume, Morgan emphasizes a third dimension inspired by phenomenological approaches in anthropology: sensory engagement with images. In so doing, he construes vision as action and the act of seeing as embedded in other cultural practices that together constitute the performance of the sacred. This argument is familiar from his previous works, however, here Morgan focuses more on the embodied nature of vision, the complex of sensorimotor input, cognitive processing, and emotional arousal from which pious acts of seeing cannot be analytically isolated. He makes very clear, however, that the human biological organism is deeply
Journal of Religion in Europe – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2012
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