Harry O. Maier gave a guest lecture in which he applied the theoretical study of visual culture to an analysis of the role of the visual in the communication of religious ideas by the New Testament author, Paul.The discussion explored the contributions of anthropologists and iconologists to the study and understanding of visual culture. After an exploration of the role of vision in understanding generally, the essay turned to the goals of creating visual experiences in ancient rhetoric. According to Maier, the letters of Paul and his followers drew on the experiences of Roman imperial iconography in multiple media to create their own visual worlds and effect persuasion. As one of the examples served 2 Cor. 2:14-15 where Paul deploys graphic language that likens himself as a prisoner in a Roman triumph: 'Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in
triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of knowledge of him everywhere'. Maier comments: 'Once again Paul is representing himself with wordimage as a spectacle, but now with a dramatically imperial evocation. Conquered prisoners in imperial triumphs were paraded along a triumphal route through the capital to the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus where sacrifices to the god were made, and distributions of montary gifts were given to the army, after which captives were exectuded or sold into slavery. Even if Paul's audience in Corinth had never personally witnessed a Roman triumph, it would have easily envisioned what the apostle depicted through graphic speech. They had been well prepared by imperial triumphal imagery on monuments on which such processions were a recurring feature, by "mini-triumphs" in the Empire where processions with placards paraded images of the conquered, and by representations of bound prisoners that recurred in a variety of media, especially coinage. These furnish the "external narrative" (Banks) for the "internal narrative" of Paul's potent image.'