Christ on a Donkey – Palm Sunday, Triumphal Entries, and Blasphemous Pageants
At once scholarly and entertaining, Christ on a Donkey is a study of Palm Sunday processions and related royal entries as both spectacular instances of processional theater and highly charged interpretations of the biblical narrative to which they claim allegiance. Harris’s narrative ranges from ancient Jerusalem to modern-day Bolivia, from imperial white horses to wheeled wooden images of Christ on a donkey, from veneration to iconoclasm, and from Christ to Ivan the Terrible. A curious theme emerges: those embodied representations of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem that were labeled blasphemous, idolatrous, or superstitious by those in power were arguably most faithful to the biblical narrative of Palm Sunday, while those staged with the purpose of exalting those in power and celebrating military triumph were arguably blasphemous pageants.
Max Harris is the author of five previous books, including Sacred Folly: A New History of the Feast of Fools (2011) which won the Otto Grundler prize. He has served as Executive Director of the Wisconsin Humanities Council and has taught at Yale University and the University of Virginia
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