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Kresta in the Afternoon – August 19, 2022 – Hour 2

Liz Lev examines how St. Joseph has been depicted in art throughout history and Jon Sweeney shares a little-known story of the showdown between Bernard of Clairvaux and Peter Abelard.

How has St Joseph been depicted?  

A popular figure in literature is the “strong, silent man,” – a man of few words but great deeds. This certainly describes St. Joseph. He’s one of our most popular saints today, but for centuries artists virtually ignored him. The artwork we do have of St Joseph show him in a wide variety of styles, but always as a man we can turn to. We look at some examples with Liz Lev.

Elizabeth Lev is the author of The Silent Knight: A History of St Joseph as Depicted in Art and How Catholic Art Saved the Faith. She is an art historian living in Rome, where she leads tours of Rome and beyond. She also delivered a TED Talk on the Unheard Story of the Sistine Chapel. Visit her at

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The Saint vs. the Scholar

In the year 1140, in a cathedral in France, a showdown occurred between two of the era’s greatest minds: Bernard of Clairvaux and Peter Abelard. Bernard had accused Peter of heresy, a charge for which he had the power to order Peter executed. Few people know about this small but significant episode in Christian history. Jon Sweeney joins us to shed a light on their clash.

Jon M. Sweeney is the author of The Saint vs the Scholar: The Fight between Faith and Reason.” He’s an independent scholar and one of religion’s most respected writers and has been interviewed on CBS Saturday Morning, Fox News, and other television programs. He is also the author of Inventing Hell, and several books about Francis of Assisi including When Saint Francis Saved the Church and The Enthusiast.

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