From the Word of God to the Emblem

  • Thomas Cramer
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Scholars have often cited Pope Gregory’s justification of images as wordless reading material for the laity, and although this justification was merely an assertion, it secured for art a relatively unchallenged existence for a millennium.1 At the same time, Gregory’s formulation established the primary status of the word and placed the image as a lower status source of knowledge.


Sixteenth Century Biblical Text Biblical Story Symbolic Image Biblical Narrative 
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  1. 2.
    Leonbattista Alberti, De pictura, ed. C. Grayson (Bari: G. Laterza, 1975), pp. 93–94. Cf. David Cast, The Calumny of Apelles: A Study in the Humanist Tradition (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981).Google Scholar
  2. 39.
    Thomas Cramer, “Fabel als emblematisches Rätsel: Vom Sinn der Illustrationen in den Fabelsammlungen von Posthius und Schopper, 1566; Ein Beitrag zur Kulturgeschichte des nichtlinearen Lesens,” in Audiovisualität vor und nach Gutenberg, ed. Horst Wenzel et al. (Milano: Skira, 2001), pp. 133–57.Google Scholar

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© Kathryn Starkey and Horst Wenzel 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Cramer

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