C. S. Lewis published The Abolition of Man in 1944 in the midst of World War II. We can perhaps imagine the ominous and suggestive nature of this timing. But, as readers soon discovered, the book was not at all about the War, or Hitler’s eugenics, or the looming nuclear threat. Lewis’s real subject is the soul and its education. According to Lewis, the real enemy—more dangerous than any nation, weapon, or science—is a philosophy: nihilism. It is perhaps a bit misleading to say that nihilism is a “post-modern” philosophy, for there have been nihilists and advocates of nihilism as long as there have been men. But it is true that this philosophy has come to be more widely preached and practiced in our time than ever before. In The Abolition of Man Lewis both explains and combats this modern (post-modern) development.
For centuries, liturgical, large-scale windows metaphorically shielded the sacred from the profane, embued light with spiritual presence, and literally illuminated divine messages. During war reparations, Germany’s shattered postwar outlook challenged a new generation of artists with the daunting task of establishing new religious symbols to speak authentically into a deeply crushed, cynical national conscience. Subsequently, while Germany’s parishes dwindled, glass artists readjusted to a new clientele: dutiful streams of international tourists whose entry fees bankrolled Germany’s historical churches. This original research explores the unique liturgical iconography developed to address a nation’s broken faith, and a global audience’s comprehension in a secularized culture.