Byzantine Tree Life : Christianity and the Arboreal Imagination / by Thomas Arentzen, Virginia Burrus, Glenn Peers.

  • Springer Nature eBook
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  • Springer
  • 1st ed. 2021.
  • Cham : Springer International Publishing : Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan 2021
Physical description
XVIII, 190 p. 18 illus., 12 illus. in color. online resource.
  • 9783030759025
  • Reproduction available: Springer :
  • Reproduction available: Electronic reproduction
  • Description based on CIP data; resource not viewed.
  • 1. Introduction -- 2. Writing on Trees -- 3. In the Beginning, Trees -- 4. Becoming-Tree -- 5. Three Leaves: A Theopoetic Epilogue.
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  • English


  • “Byzantine thought comes to life in this fabulous book. The authors’ lively writing style and astounding erudition brush away the dust of centuries, revitalizing the texts and images from what they call the ‘long Byzantium.’ And the lives that come to light here are not only human. With care and precision, Arentzen, Burrus, and Peers enable trees to come to the fore as the agents of intellectual, aesthetic, and religious history in their own right.” —Michael Marder, University of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain “The quest in this three-faceted book is to give voice to the postmodern tree and its cult, while also discovering and enunciating its Byzantine equivalent. Our awe of the tree, majestic, romanticized, and endangered, is so steeped in the threats of our own era that it claims overweening urgency over every other, yet we know that the premodern era preceded many factors of denaturalization that we are now combatting. That is the book's challenge.” —Annemarie Weyl Carr, Professor Emerita, Southern Methodist University, USA This book examines the many ways Byzantines lived with their trees. It takes seriously theological and hagiographic tree engagement as expressions of that culture’s deep involvement—and even fascination—with the arboreal. These pages tap into the current attention paid to plants in a wide range of scholarship, an attention that involves the philosophy of plant life as well as scientific discoveries of how communicative trees may be, and how they defend themselves. Considering writings on and images of trees from Late Antiquity and medieval Byzantium sympathetically, the book argues for an arboreal imagination at the root of human aspirations to know and draw close to the divine. Thomas Arentzen is Researcher in Greek Philology at Uppsala University and Reader in Church History at Lund University, Sweden. Virginia Burrus is Bishop W. Earl Ledden Distinguished Professor of Religion at Syracuse University, USA. Glenn Peers is Professor in the Department of Art and Music Histories at Syracuse University, USA.

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British Library: General Reference Collection, St Pancras Reading Rooms DRT ELD.DS.639188
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