Karin Krause

Faculty Associate Professor of Byzantine Art and Religious Culture; also in the College; Affiliated Faculty, Dept. of Art History and the Center for Hellenic Studies; Faculty Member, Medieval Studies Program

PhD (University of Munich, LMU)

Karin Krause specializes in the Christian visual cultures of Byzantium and the premodern Mediterranean region. Her research interests include visual hermeneutics, Byzantine manuscript culture, the interrelation of texts and images, the cult of relics, the theology of the icon, and cultural exchange between Byzantium and the West. In her teaching at the Divinity School, Professor Krause seeks to broaden the concept of religion by drawing attention to the significance of material artifacts alongside texts and theories. She welcomes projects that explore the role of visual culture in religion, and she helps students develop the skills to examine material artifacts as primary evidence.

Her most recent book, Divine Inspiration in Byzantium: Notions of Authenticity in Art and Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2022), examines the intersecting conceptions of divine inspiration and authenticity in the literature and visual arts of Byzantium. In this volume, Krause traces how ancient ideas about the divine origin of texts and material artifacts were reinterpreted in Byzantine literature and art to promulgate claims to religious truth and authority. Her findings expand upon recent scholarship that treats Byzantine Orthodoxy as having been subject to constant challenge and redefinition. The book also illuminates the important contribution of the visual arts to the formation of Eastern Orthodox theology and cultural identity. Her first book, The Illustrated Homilies of John Chrysostom in Byzantium, (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2004; in German) won the 2003 outstanding dissertation award from the German Southeast Europe Association. Making available, often for the first time, the illuminated manuscripts that contain the teachings of Byzantium’s preeminent theologian, it reconstructs the circumstances of their production and their relevance for the liturgy.

Her third monograph, tentatively titled Propaganda, Cult, Scholarship: The Response to Byzantine Artifacts in Venice, is far advanced. In this project, Professor Krause investigates the history of the reception of Byzantine religious artifacts in Venice from the late Middle Ages to about 1800.

Her research has been supported by the German Research Community (DFG), the Max Planck Society, the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection of Harvard University, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, and the Hellenic Republic, among other entities.

Recent courses
The Veneration of Icons in Byzantium – Art and Ritual in Byzantium – The Holy Land in the Middle Ages – Illuminating the Bible in Byzantium – The Cult of Relics in Byzantium and beyond – Between East and West: Venice in the Premodern Period – Byzantium: Art, Religion, Culture – Journeys Real and Virtual: Travel in the Premodern Mediterranean (co-taught with Niall Atkinson) – Byzantine Art: Iconography – Introduction to Byzantine Art – Christian Iconography