Matters of Faith: Natural Materials as Metonyms of the Holy Land (book project) (closed)
We would like to offer an open invitation for prospective contributors to a collection of essays dedicated to natural materials as agents of transportation of the Holy Land. The focus of this volume will be the unique characteristics of natural materials as signifiers of place. Since early Christianity materials such as wood, earth, water or stone were (and still are) taken from the loca sancta in order to signify them elsewhere. So far in academic discourse, holy matter and its containers were indiscriminately grouped with other means of transporting the Holy Land such as architectural and topographical emulations, two-dimensional images, bodily relics and various memorabilia. However, unlike textual accounts or visual representations, natural materials do not describe the Holy Land but are a part of its very substance. Tangible and timeless, they act as metonyms of the place they come from, mediating between their former and new locations.

What is it about removing earth, transporting stones or bottling water from holy sites which makes these sacred? How do removed materials become pars pro toto, representatives of the whole from which they were taken? Contributors are invited to consider the unique characteristics of varied natural materials as nonrepresentational media used for translating loca sancta and to examine the processes of their sanctification and their ability to become charged with symbolism and meaning, despite being inherently abstract. Papers may address such issues as the metamorphosis materials undergo (natural or induced), as well as the change they generate in the environment to which they are transported; their capacity to translate a static site elsewhere and the effect of their re-location on their users/viewers; and the ways their containers were used to communicate their substance.

The volume will be edited by Bianca K├╝hnel, Neta Bodner and Renana Bartal (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) as part of the ERC-advanced project Spectrum: Visual Translations of Jerusalem.

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words and a current CV to Renana Bartal ( Proposals must be received by Friday 30 November, 2012. Deadline for submission of papers: 30 November, 2013