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Professor Aaron Rosen profile photograph
Professor Aaron Rosen profile photograph

Professor Aaron Rosen

Visiting Professor of Sacred Traditions & the Arts

Research interests

  • Culture
  • Religion

Contact details


Dr. Aaron Rosen is Professor of Religion & Visual Culture and Director of the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts & Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC. He is Visiting Professor at King’s College London, where he was Senior Lecturer of Sacred Traditions and the Arts. Rosen began his career teaching at Yale, Oxford, and Columbia Universities, after receiving his doctorate from the University of Cambridge. 

He is the author of Art & Religion in the 21st Century, Imagining Jewish Art, and Brushes with Faith, and is at work on a monograph entitled The Hospitality of Images:  Modern Art, Architecture, and Interfaith Dialogue.  His edited books include: Religion and Art in the Heart of Modern Manhattan; Visualising a Sacred City:  London, Art, and Religion; Encounters:  The Art of Interfaith Dialogue; and Religion and Sight (forthcoming). 

He regularly curates exhibitions and is the co-founder of the public arts project Stations of the Cross, which has been staged in London, New York, Washington, D.C., and Amsterdam.  He is the visual arts editor for Image Journal and the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception.  He also writes books for young people, including Journey through Art, which has been translated into seven languages.

Research interests

  • Religion in Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Religion and Material Culture (e.g. graphic novels, political cartoons, fashion, children's books)
  • Religion and Film
  • Memorialization and Museology
  • Jewish-Christian-Muslim Dialogue
  • Modern Jewish Thought

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.

Selected publications

  • Brushes with Faith: Reflections and Conversations on Contemporary Art  (Cascade, 2019)
  • Editor of Encounters:  The Art of Interfaith Dialogue  (Brepols, 2018)
  • Co-editor of Visualising a Sacred City: London, Art and Religion  (I.B. Tauris, 2016)
  • 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)
  • Imagining Jewish Art: Encounters with the Masters in Chagall, Guston, and Kitaj  (Legenda, 2009)

For a complete list of publications, please see Aaron's full research profile.

Expertise and public engagement 

Prof. Rosen has written widely for scholarly and popular publications, including The Observer, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, Apollo, Times Higher Education, and and has provided commentary for BBC Radio 4, RTÉ Radio 1 (Ireland), US public radio, and other outlets.  He is the visual arts editor for Image Journal and the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, and co-edits book series for Brepols and Bloomsbury.

Prof. Rosen is also the author of two popular children’s books: Where’s Your Creativity? (Tate, 2017), and  Journey through Art:  A Global Adventure (Thames & Hudson, 2018), both of which have been translated into many languages.

Prof. Rosen has curated various exhibitions, including a series of shows at the Jewish Museum in London and Stations of the Cross, a city-wide public arts project which has been staged thus far in London, Washington, DC, New York, and Amsterdam.  He has lectured in universities, museums, and religious institutions across the US, UK, and the Netherlands, as well as in Germany, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Russia, and Australia. 

He is happy to speak with members of the media.