This lively and highly original study explores the link between visual culture and religion in terms of tales, memory and character. It draws out the sociological implications of handling the virtual and virtue in ways of seeing. Using Simmel's approach to religiosity in his third study of sociology in theology, Flanagan explores how spectacle is to be understood in ways that yield trust. The study will be invaluable for undergraduate and postgraduate courses on visual culture, sociology of religion and theology.
'The book deserves to be read widely and should be of interest not only to sociologists and theologians, but also to many others with an eye for the complexities and opportunities inherent within contemporary visual culture.' - Philip Mellor, Journal of Contemporary Religion
'Overall, this is a book brimming with complex, subtly nuanced and closely woven argument. Its stylistic density is leavened by clear sign-posting, helpful recapitulation en route, and the author's penchant for aphoristic asides...' - Graham Howes, New Blackfriars
'This book adds another brilliant contribution to Flanagan's unique reflexive sociology. His is a distinctly and distinctively 'religiously musical' sociology of religion where the strong boundaries between sociology and theology dissolve.' - Will Keenan, Theory, Culture and Society