Jowett’s scriptures
The moral life and the state
in Julia Margaret Cameron’s ‘fancy subjects’
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Inspired by the work of Benjamin Jowett, Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford, friend of Tennyson, and frequent visitor to the Isle of Wight, Cameron created what she termed a novel “theological work” in photography. The Fruits of the Spirit was a work in nine parts that was ground-breaking because it embodied a new interpretive schema that followed Jowett’s radical approach to biblical criticism. First published in 1860, Jowett’s contribution to the volume Essays and Reviews advanced a “free-thinking” approach to biblical interpretation, while at the same time rejecting earlier interpretive approaches like typology. This chapter demonstrates that Cameron’s allegorical photographs of religious subjects interpret Christian religious symbols with a similar “free-thinking” approach, and argue against the dominant typological interpretation advanced earlier by Mike Weaver.

Julia Margaret Cameron’s ‘fancy subjects’

Photographic allegories of Victorian identity and empire

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