Dr Aaron Rosen
Lecturer in Sacred Traditions & the Arts as well as in Liberal Arts
Tel +44 (0)20 7848 2767
Address: Department of Theology & Religious Studies
King's College London
Room 3.25, Virginia Woolf Building,
LONDON, WC2B 6LE
Research interests and PhD supervision
Prior to King’s, Dr. Rosen was a research fellow at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, Junior Research Fellow in Jewish Culture at the University of Oxford, and post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Israel & Jewish Studies at Columbia University. He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge and was a visiting scholar at the University of California Berkeley.
He has written widely for popular and scholarly publications including The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Apollo, New Humanist, Times Higher Education, Jewish Quarterly, Literary Review, Art & Christianity, Religion & the Arts, and Literature & Theology. His first book was Imagining Jewish Art: Encounters with the Masters in Chagall, Guston, and Kitaj (Legenda, 2009). He is currently working on a book entitled, The Hospitality of Images: Modern Art & Interfaith Dialogue and editing Religion and Art in the Heart of Modern Manhattan (Ashgate, 2015).
- Theology and visual art (especially modern art)
- Interfaith dialogue in theory and practice
- Modern Jewish thought
- Religion and material/pop culture (e.g. comics, hip hop)
- Reception history and interpretation of the Bible
Calls for interfaith dialogue usually begin with the claim that what binds together Jews, Christians, and Muslims is their common identity as people of the book. I argue that members of these faiths are also—despite popular assumptions—people of the image
. The visual arts, I argue, have an untapped potential to open up hospitable spaces for inter-religious dialogue; enriching not only how members of the Abrahamic faiths perceive their own traditions but encouraging new ways of seeing the Other. Ultimately, whether it comes to refashioning sacred space or re-interpreting religious texts, I hope to demonstrate how the visual arts might breathe new life into interfaith dialogue, a process which too often falls into stale repetitions of commonality. For this project to be successful, disciplinary boundaries need to be crossed as much as religious ones, and KCL is the ideal environment in which to undertake such strongly interdisciplinary work.
I am open to discussing innovative proposals on any subject, particularly interdisciplinary topics related to religion and modern culture. I am especially happy to consider working with doctoral candidates with interests in the following areas:
- material/popular culture
- Modern reception of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
- Judaism and Christianity in modern America
- Jewish-American fiction
- Holocaust memory and the arts
For more details, please see my full research profile
- Imagining Jewish Art: Encounters with the Masters in Chagall, Guston, and Kitaj (Legenda, 2009).
- Art and Religion in the 21st Century (Thames and Hudson, 2015)
- Editor of Religion and Art in the Heart of Modern Manhattan: St. Peter’s Church and the Louise Nevelson Chapel (Ashgate, 2015)
- “True Lights: Seeing the Psalms through Chagall’s Church Windows,” Jewish and Christian Approaches to the Psalms: Conflict and Convergence, ed. Susan Gillingham (Oxford University Press, 2013)
- “Emmanuel Levinas and the Hospitality of Images,” Literature and Theology, Vol. 25, No. 4 (2011), pp. 364-378
For a complete list of publications, please see Aaron's full research profile
I have taught modules/courses on a variety of subjects in religious studies and visual culture, among other topics. Titles of some of my past courses include: Key Figures in Jewish-Christian Dialogue, Modern Jewish Thought, Jewish and Christian Responses to the Holocaust, Jewish Art from Antiquity to the Present, Image and Icon in Christian Tradition, Modern British Art, and Modern British Comics, Caricatures, and Graphic Novels. I currently teach MA modules on Religion and Spirituality in Modern Art and Modern Jewish Visual Culture, and BA modules on The Bible in the Modern Imagination and Lives of London (the core course I designed for year 1 Liberal Arts students). I am currently supervising doctoral dissertations on ethnic and religious difference in modern British political cartoons, the theology of fashion, and religion in London museums and galleries.
Expertise and public engagement
I have lectured to audiences across the United States and Europe, as well as in Russia and Australia. I write regularly for magazines such as New Humanist, Times Higher Education, and Jewish Quarterly on topics related to religion and the arts as well as education (e.g. liberal arts) and social issues (e.g. gay marriage) and have appeared in newspapers including the New York Times and LA Times.
I am the co-curator of a series of exhibitions at the Jewish Museum London, entitled Your Jewish Museum, supported by the King’s Cultural Institute. I am an Advisory Board Member of the Jewish Art Salon in New York, the Maine Jewish Museum, Art and Christian Enquiry, Art and Sacred Places, and Friday-Saturday-Sunday: A Multi-Faith Space.
I am happy to speak with the media on topics including interfaith dialogue, modern art, religion and pop culture, and liberal arts education.