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What’s the Matter: Idol or Sacred? Gold and Wood, Stone and Story in Medieval Irish Art

Featured speaker: Dr. Dan Bradley, Gonzaga University


March 8, 2019

4:30 pm to 6:00 pm

Philosophy Village, University Hall 3600


Loyola Marymount University
1 LMU Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90045


About the event:

The main strands of Modernity are far from secular and, in fact, are rooted in an appeal to the absolute and infinite. The problem is that this notion of God creates a radical separation between the physical and the spiritual.

The talk will begin with Jean-Luc Marion’s discussion of the infinite vanishing point in post-Renaissance painting and the austere and anonymous Byzantine icon as examples that resonate with this iconoclastic modern appeal to the absolute. Taking the Cross of Cong—a 12th century reliquary cross, conspicuous for the beauty of its materials and the virtuosity of its craftsmanship—as an example, Prof. Bradley argues that this work of art deals with the problem of idolatry by drawing the viewer on an ascetic journey—materially, stylistically, and narratively—and yet, via these same paths, is able to return us to a celebration of the beauty of the sensuous world as a sacramental revelation of the divine.

About the speaker:

Dr. Bradley spent his teens and twenties working on small farms in Eastern Washington and fishing boats in SE Alaska. He eventually earned a PhD in philosophy from the National University of Ireland (Galway) and is now an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Gonzaga University in Spokane, where he lives with his wife and three children. While not forgetting the contributions of the iconoclasm of the 20th century, his research tries to open philosophy to thinking the sacredness of being, thereby allowing for dialogue with Native American thought, liturgical and sacramental religion, and environmental philosophy.


This program is sponsored by the Casassa Chair in Catholic Social Values and co-sponsored by Irish Studies Program and Philosophy.