Karin Krause specializes in the Christian visual cultures of Byzantium and the premodern Mediterranean region. Her research interests include visual hermeneutics, Byzantine manuscript culture, the interrelation of texts and images, the cult of relics, the theology of the icon, and cultural exchange between Byzantium and the West.
Her recently completed book, Divine Inspiration in Byzantium: Notions of Authenticity in Art and Theology (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming), examines the intersecting conceptions of divine inspiration and authenticity in the literature and visual arts of Byzantium. In this volume, she traces how eastern Christianity reinterpreted ancient ideas about the divine origin of texts and artifacts to promulgate claims to religious truth and authority. Her findings expand upon recent scholarship that treats Byzantine Orthodoxy as having been subject to constant challenge and redefinition. The book illuminates the important contribution of the visual arts to the formation of Eastern Orthodox theology and cultural identity. Her first book, The Illustrated Homilies of John Chrysostom in Byzantium, (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2004; in German) won an award from the German Southeast Europe Association. Making available, often for the first time, the illuminated manuscripts that contain the teachings of Byzantium’s preeminent theologian, it reconstructs the circumstances of their production and their relevance for the liturgy.
Her third monograph, tentatively titled Propaganda, Cult, Scholarship: The Response to Byzantine Artifacts in Venice, is far advanced. In this project, she investigates the history of the reception of Byzantine religious artifacts in Venice from the late Middle Ages to about 1800.
Her research has been supported by the German Research Community (DFG), the Max Planck Society, the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection of Harvard University, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, and the Hellenic Republic, among other entities. She is currently an affiliated scholar in the international research cluster “Mobility, Microstructures, and Personal Agency in Byzantium” (Austrian National Research Foundation, FWF), based at the University of Vienna.