Publications

The Empires of Faith Project has a series of planned publication outputs. These include individual articles and monographs written by members of the team that result from their specific personal research programmes within the overall project. As a collective, Empires of Faith will also produce a number of volumes.

First, there is the catalogue to accompany the Imagining the Divine exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, available now.

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A public book launch event for the exhibition catalogue will be taking place at The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities on Wednesday 8th November at 12:30pm.

Alongside this, there will be a major volume of essays by all members of the team, entitled Empires of Faith: Histories of Image and Religion in Late Antiquity, from India to Ireland, edited by Jaś Elsner. This book surveys the long and complex historiography of writing about art and religion in Late Antiquity from the mid 19th century to the present day, including discussion of the difficulties of comparison between different religious and visual cultures, and the problems of stepping out of a Eurocentric mindset conditioned by histories of imperialism, colonialism and post-colonialism.

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Avalotikeshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion, Nepal, AD 600-800, Ashmolean Museum.

A third output from the project as a whole will be a history of art and religion between 200 and 800 AD, written by Robert Bracey and Jaś Elsner, that spans the major religions of Eurasia in that period — including Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, pagan polytheistic religions — and attempts to treat all materials and cultural contexts equally, attempting to redress the prevalent Eurocentric bias.

In addition to these volumes, the Empires of Faith project has pioneered a series of shorter collective books of comparative art historical analysis designed for a wider public, published by Oxford University Press and entitled Visual Conversations in Art and Archaeology. The first volume of this series, Images of Mithra, was published in June 2017. You can read more about the work on our blog.

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