Voice and Vision at Sinai: Rethinking the Pilgrimage Model in Late Antiquity
Paroma Chatterjee, University of Michigan
April 21, 2022 · 4:30 pm—6:00 pm · 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.