Department of Rhetoric and Writing

The University of Texas at Austin


Wandering Christians and Illustration in the Biblical Tradition

David and Bathsheba poster

Image Credit: Posters 555

All those who wander are not lost—in fact, wandering is sometimes the point. I did a little of this while touring the Harry Ransom Center’s new exhibit on The King James Bible: Its History and Influences. I particularly enjoyed examining the numerous visuals on display: exquisite Jacob Lawrence and William Blake illustrations, colorful posters for The Ten Commandments and David and Bathsheba, and patterns for Robert DeNiro’s Biblical tattoos in Cape Fear.  While some might oppose word and image, the Harry Ransom Center’s combination of both in a single exhibit highlights illustration’s importance within the King James Bible and the wider biblical tradition. Visual illustrations, which once served to transmit biblical stories before widespread literacy or vernacular bibles, work hand in hand with the Bible’s narrative techniques—specifically, Jesus’s parables in the Gospels.

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