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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Transillumination & Theology of The Living Christ



A member of the cathedral congregation (and a medical professional) has responded to the Sunday sermon with a fascinating reflection on De la Tour's use of light.  He found another of his paintings

St Joseph the Carpenter
(Joseph the Carpenter) that illustrates the use of light and, as it happens, a  medical phenomenon.

He writes: "The imagery here is even more compelling I fancy, because the candle appears to have been recently extinguished (noting the wisp of smoke rising from the wick, rather like the snuffing of the Cathedral candles!), and the source of the light appears to be in the Christ child's left hand. Even more spectacularly, and consistent with our theology of the living Christ, is the extraordinary depiction of 'transillumination' of Christ's fingers. Medically, this phenomenon only occurs in living tissues, the circulation of oxygenated blood lending the pinkish tinge to the light from the fingers!"

That has set me thinking again.  Theology, medicine, art and scripture in an intriguing interplay that extends us.

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