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Christ on a Donkey: Palm Sunday, Triumphal Entries, and Blasphemous Pageants

Cover image of book "Christ on a Donkey" with green overtones and a painted image of a religious procession.
IRH Fellowship and Year: 
2018-2019 Emeritus Fellow
Amsterdam University Press, 2019

Christ on a Donkey reveals Palm Sunday processions and related royal entries as both processional theatre and highly charged interpretations of the biblical narrative. Harris’s narrative ranges from ancient Jerusalem to modern-day Bolivia, from veneration to iconoclasm, and from Christ to Ivan the Terrible. A curious theme emerges: those representations of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem that were labelled blasphemous or idolatrous by those in power were most faithful to the biblical narrative of Palm Sunday, while those that exalted power and celebrated military triumph were arguably blasphemous pageants.