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Voice and Vision at Sinai: Rethinking the Pilgrimage Model in Late Antiquity

Paroma Chatterjee, University of Michigan

Thu, 4/21 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm EDT · East Pyne 010

Department of Art and Archaeology

This lecture investigates the images and inscriptions at the Monastery of St. Catherine at Sinai, Egypt, to demonstrate that vision and voice are decisively dispersed at each of the Monastery’s major thresholds and in the framework of the theophanies it offers. In doing so, this site complicates the normative paradigm of late antique pilgrimage informed by the mimetic model, and simultaneously interrogates the trend in current scholarship of equating a saturated sensory experience with the apprehension of divine presence. Instead, the lecture argues that the dispersed sensory experience at Sinai truncates the mimetic posture, recasting it as an active reassessment, rather than reiteration, of the Biblical past and that this complicates the notion of presence rather than invoking it as a given.

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