Making and Breaking the Gods: Christian Responses to Pagan Sculpture in Late Antiquity by Troels Myrup Kristensen, an associate professor of classical archaeology @ Aarhus University, is #12 in the Aarhus Studies in Mediterranean Antiquity, free courtesy of Aarhus Universitetsforlaget.
This is an extensively-illustrated art & religious sociocultural history focusing on how early Christians viewed and altered pagan religious artwork, sometimes destructively, sometimes not, mainly covering Egypt, Rome, and the Near East. Line drawings and photographs of the affected artworks are incorporated throughout.
Currently free until the end of the month as Aarhus Universitetsforlaget's featured Danish-language Free Book of the Month for January @ the university's website (DRM-free PDF available worldwide), with further information on its catalogue page.
Drawing on both textual and archaeological sources, this book discusses how Christians in Late Antiquity negotiated the sculptural environment of cities and sanctuaries in a variety of ways, ranging from creative transformations to iconoclastic performances.
Their responses to pagan sculpture present a rich window into the mechanisms through which society and culture changed under the influence of Christianity. The book thus demonstrates how Christian responses to pagan sculpture rhetorically continued an old tradition of discussing visual practices and the materiality of divine representations.
Focusing in particular on the Egypt and the Near East, it furthermore argues that Christian responses encompass much more than mindless violence and need to be contextualised against other social and political developments, as well as local traditions of representation.