Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Crosby’s “Reflections on Ruth,” Part I

CM Crosby, a most gifted student of mine, has produced a wonderful project interpreting Ruth in Hebrew exegesis and artwork. She has entitled her project, “Reflections on Ruth: Art and Study.” She has given me permission to post her art in this blog, which I will do over the next two to three days.

Each of her nine images contains figures from the tale of Ruth with a backdrop consisting of renderings of photos captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. The images of wonder from space represent the presence of God in the book of Ruth, thus inviting the reader and viewer to contemplate God’s subtle, mostly indirect (non-overt) presence in the events of the narrative. As you study the images, please consider adding a comment to the blog posts about how Chrissie’s study and art enrich your thinking about God.


Chrissie’s first artwork (below) is based on Ruth 1:13b:

אל בנתי כי־מר־לי מאד מכם כי־יצאה בי יד־יהוה

In Ruth 1:13b, Naomi expresses her dark emotions of bitterness at her sorry fate. One possible translation of her words to her two daughters-in-law is “My bitterness is too much for you to bear” (cf. NET, NABre). The star-scape is based on the Mystic Mountain in Carina Nebula. In the art, I can imagine Naomi free-falling below the Mystic Mountain; or, does the Mountain have five “fingers,” representing the “hand of God” that she claims has gone against her?


Click the image to enlarge it. Your reflections are welcome in the comments below.


Anonymous Tim Bulkeley said...

If I had not read your commentary and description I'd have difficulty recognising the background as a star photo, it looks like the paw of some SF beast. Which fits well the feel of Naomi's cry.

It is striking how many presentations of Ruth skip over or downplay this speech. I am interested that the artist chose to make this the first image. It sets the book up in interesting ways that seem to me to fit with what I read, but I would not have thought to do it this way.

Wed Feb 20, 02:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger delrayalex said...

I like that the background is as prominent as the foreground. That the perspective is hard to read. That God is being represented here about as close to the great I AM as I can imagine, and as an exquisite cloud. The juxtaposition makes me stop and think it over and it "shows" our connection to God in a most original way. I don't see free-falling, I see Naomi raw/closed-off/furious and yet the connection is very vivid. Thanks for this.

Sun Feb 24, 04:33:00 PM GMT-5  

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