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Embodied EyeReligious Visual Culture and the Social Life of Feeling$
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David Morgan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520272224

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520272224.001.0001

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The Matter of the Heart

The Matter of the Heart

Touching and Seeing

(p.111) Chapter 5 The Matter of the Heart
Embodied Eye

David Morgan

University of California Press

This chapter explores the relation between touching and seeing, as well as matter and spirit, in terms of several different moments in the controversial history of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In English, the verb behold suggests this relationship between sight and touch. To see can mean “to want to touch”; hence, religious seeing indicates encountering the sacred in material terms. On that note, seeing the heart of Jesus in the portrait connected viewers materially to the sacred by engaging them in a penitential economy—the tangibility of the heart beckoned a devout response: repay Jesus for the expense of offenses against him.

Keywords:   Sacred Heart of Jesus, religious seeing, sacred, penitential economy, devotion, touching, seeing

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