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Ancient Greek, Verb, pronounced Ekh-o. The Transliterated word is Echo. New Testament Greek Lexicon


“[To] have (hold) in the hand, in the sense of wearing, to have (hold) possession of the mind (refers to alarm, agitating emotions, etc.), to hold fast keep, to have or comprise or involve, to regard or consider or hold as.”




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Who’s Who: Historians and Cultural Theorists

Because this topic is so new, it is only recently developing a distinct culture and social identity of its own. Consequently, essays and books in this field are relatively new, and authors on this topic are few and far between. However, it is vital to understand the culture of blindness and the arts, and also to comprehend why many have felt that blind people cannot understand the arts.

 Isaac Newton & Nicholas Saunderson

Information on Saunderson

It is a little difficult to place these two massive historical figures. British mathematician Newton wrote anonymously on theological issues related to visions, and took an Arian, anti-iconic stance that led to his scientific theory of optics. He then sponsored the blind mathematician Saunderson, who devised a tactile geometry and a pioneering “pin dot” language.

William Paulson

Information on Paulson

The US academic of French history analysed the symbolism of blind people and blindness at the time of the Enlightenment and the period just after the revolution in France, in his seminal work Enlightenment, Romanticism and the Blind in France. This work concluded that blindness was romanticised as a symbol of radicalism in French literature.

Martin Jay

Information on Jay

Following on from Paulson, the US philosopher Jay wrote the seminal piece Downcast Eyes. Concurring with Paulson’s original arguments, he concluded that French literature and philosophy above all others had romanticised blindness. In this work, Jay finds that, above all, as blindness was glorified, sight was actively denigrated as a form of moral perception.

Moishe Barasch

Information on Barash

Although not studying the culture of blindness in his major work, Blindness: The History of a Mental Image in Western Thought, the Israeli art theorist Barasch investigates how a greater cultural image of blindness has been developed by religions through art. From Antiquity to the Renaissance, Barasch finds that allegories of blindness are complex and most often negative.

Yvonne eriksson

Information on Eriksson

The Swedish academic Eriksson also has practical experience of working in this field in her role at the Swedish Library for Talking Books. She also appears to be the first academic writer to investigate the history of tactile images in a PhD. She finds that they have an evolving history as sophisticated, descriptive images.

William H Illingworth

Information on Illingworth

Illingworth was a British teacher in a school for the blind and a member of the College of Teachers for the Blind at the beginning of the 20th century. By this time enough of an educational culture had evolved for him to write his History of the Education of the Blind. This surveyed literature, handwork, music and the “industrial arts” education to this point.


Information on Kudlick

The US academic Kudlick is professor of history at the University of California (UC) at Davis. She graduated originally from the UC Santa Cruz and Berkeley, the latter known for its connections with the disability movement. Kudlick writes on the subject of the social history of disability, and has written broadly on the history of blindness. She is the current President of the Disability History Association.

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