Theological Aesthetics: A ReaderTheological Aesthetics: A Reader
Gesa Elsbeth Thiessen, ed.
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A superb sourcebook, Theological Aesthetics: A Reader brings together original texts that are relevant and timely to scholars today. Editor Gesa Elsbeth Thiessen has taken a careful, inclusive approach to the book, including articles and extracts that are diverse and ecumenical as well as representative of gender and ethnicity. The book is organized chronologically, and each historical period begins with commentary by Thiessen that sets the selections in context.

These engaging readings range broadly over themes at the intersection of religion and the arts, including beauty and revelation, the vision of God, artistic and divine creation, God as artist, images of God, the interplay of the senses and the intellect, human imagination, mystical writings, meanings of signs and symbols, worship, liturgy, doxology, the relationship of word and image, icons and iconoclasm, the role of the arts in twentieth-century theology, and much more.
     


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Preface

General Introduction

Part 1 The Early Church

Introduction

1. Divine Beauty, Purification and the Vision of God

1.1 Justin Martyr, from Dialogue with Trypho
1.2 Irenaeus, from Against Heresies
1.3 Origen, from De Principiis
1.4 Hilary of Poitiers, from The Trinity
1.5 Ephrem the Syrian, from Letter to Publius
1.6 Basil, from On Psalm 29 (Homily 14)
1.7 Gregory of Nyssa, from On Virginity
1.8 Ambrose, from The Holy Spirit
1.9 John Chrysostom, from On the Incomprehensible Nature of God (Homily 12)
1.10.1 Augustine, from Divine Providence and the Problem of Evil
1.10.2 Augustine, from Soliloquies
1.10.3 Augustine, from Expositions on The Book of Psalms
1.10.4 Augustine, from Letter to Paulina (The Book of the Vision of God)
1.10.5 Augustine, from Confessions
1.11 Pseudo-Dionysius, from The Divine Names
1.12 Maximus the Confessor, from The Four Hundred Chapters on Love

2. The Divine Artist

2.1 Basil from Exegetical Works, On the Hexameron (Homily 1)
2.2 Gregory of Nyssa, from On Perfection
2.3 Ambrose, from Hexameron: Six Days of Creation: Six
2.4 Augustine, from The City of God
2.5 Paulinus of Nola, Poem 27

3. Iconoclasm and Idolatry

3.1 Justin Martyr, from The First Apology
3.2 Lactantius, from The Divine Institutes
3.3 Gregory the Great, from Selected Epistles

4. The Role of the Senses, Dress Codes, and Negative Views of Women

4.1 Clement of Alexandria, from Christ the Educator
4.2.1 Tertullian, from On the Soul
4.2.2 Tertullian, from On the Apparel of Women
4.3 Ambrose, from Paradise
Part 2 The Medieval Church

Introduction

5. The Defence of Images

5.1 From the Second Council of Nicaea (787)
5.2 From the Fourth General Council of Constantinople (869–70)
5.3 John of Damascus, from Orthodox Faith
5.4 Theodore of Studios, from On the Holy Icons

6. Seeing God; Beauty and Goodness

6.1 John Scotus Eriugena, from Periphyseon
6.2 Anselm of Canterbury, from Proslogium
6.3 Hugh of St Victor, from On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith
6.4 Richard of St Victor, from The Mystical Ark
6.5 Hildegard of Bingen, from Scivias
6.6.1 Bonaventure, from The Soul’s Journey into God
6.6.2 Bonaventure, from The Tree of Life
6.7.1 Thomas Aquinas, from Summa Theologiae, Existence and Nature of God (Ia. 2–11)
6.7.2 Thomas Aquinas, from Summa Theologiae, The Emotions (Ia2æ. 22–30)
6.7.3 Thomas Aquinas, from Summa Theologiae, Temperance (2a2æ. 141–154)
6.7.4 Thomas Aquinas, from Summa Theologiae, The Life of Christ (3a. 38–45)
6.8 Meister Eckhart, Sermon 19, Surrexit autem Saulus de terra... (Acts 9:8)
6.9 Gregory Palamas, from The Triads
6.10 Nicholas of Cusa, from On the Vision of God

7. Images of God

7.1 Anselm of Canterbury, from Monologium
7.2 Thomas Aquinas, from Summa Theologiae, Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Ia. 33–43)
7.3 Julian of Norwich, from Showings
7.4 Nicholas of Cusa, from On Learned Ignorance

8. Praising God: Architecture, Poetry and Music

8.1 Symeon the New Theologian, from Hymns of Divine Love
8.2 Abbot Suger, from On the Abbey Church of St Denis and Its Art Treasures
8.3 Bernard of Clairvaux, from On the Song of Songs II
8.4 Francis of Assisi, The Praises of God and The Canticle of the Creatures
8.5 Thomas Aquinas, from Summa Theologiae, Religion and Worship (2a2æ. 80–91)

Part 3 The Reformation

Introduction

9. The Role of Images

9.1.1 Martin Luther, from Receiving Both Kinds in the Sacrament (1522)
9.1.2 Martin Luther, from A Sermon Preached by Martin Luther, Ecclesiastes (12 March 1522)
9.1.3 Martin Luther, from Against the Heavenly Prophets in the Matter of Images and Sacraments (1525)
9.2 Huldrych Zwingli, from A Short Christian Instruction (1523)
9.3 Jean Calvin, from The Institutes of the Christian Religion
9.4 The General Council of Trent, from Decree on the Invocation, the Veneration and the Relics of Saints and on Sacred
Images (1563)

10. Next to the Word of God: Music

10.1 Martin Luther, Preface to the Wittenberg Hymnal (1524)
10.2 Martin Luther, Preface to Georg Rhau’s Symphoniae iucundae (1538)

11. Mystical Visions and Poetry

11.1 Teresa of Avila, from The Book of Her Life
11.2.1 John of the Cross, from The Ascent of Mount Carmel
11.2.2 John of the Cross, The Living Flame of Love
Part 4 Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries

Introduction

12. Singing God’s Praise

12.1 George Herbert, from The Works of George Herbert
12.2 Angelus Silesius (Johann Scheffler), from The Cherubinic Wanderer
12.3 Nikolaus L.von Zinzendorf, Jesu, thy Blood and Righteousness
12.4 John and Charles Wesley, from A Rapture of Praise

13. Divine Beauty and the Beauty of Creation

13.1 John Owen, from The Glory of Christ
13.2.1 Jonathan Edwards, from Images or Shadows of Divine Things
13.2.2 Jonathan Edwards, from Experiencing God
13.2.3 Jonathan Edwards, from The Philosophy of Jonathan Edwards, From His Private Notebooks

14. Feeling, Imagination and Contemplation

14.1 Friedrich D. E. Schleiermacher, from On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers
14.2 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from Biographia Literaria
14.3 John Henry Newman, from A Grammar of Assent
14.4 John Ruskin, from Modern Painters

15. Art and Aesthetics: Philosophical–Theological Perceptions

15.1 Immanuel Kant, from Critique of Judgement
15.2 Georg W. F. Hegel, from Aesthetics – Lectures on Fine Art
15.3.1 Søren Kierkegaard, from Journals and Papers
15.3.2 Søren Kierkegaard, from Either/Or, Part 2

Part 5 The Twentieth Century

Introduction

16. Art as a ‘locus theologicus’

16.1 Paul Tillich, from ‘Art and Ultimate Reality’
16.2 Karl Rahner, from ‘Theology and the Arts’
16.3 Pie–Raymond Régamey, from Religious Art in the Twentieth Century
16.4 Vatican Council II, from Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy
16.5 Aidan Nichols, from The Art of God Incarnate
16.6 Thomas Franklin O’Meara, from ‘The Aesthetic Dimension in Theology’
16.7 John Dillenberger, from A Theology of Artistic Sensibilities, The Visual Arts and the Church
16.8 George Pattison, from Art, Modernity and Faith
16.9 Dorothee Sölle, from Against the Wind, A Memoir of a Radical Christian
16.10 Gesa Elsbeth Thiessen, from Theology and Modern Irish Art
16.11 Jeremy Begbie, from Beholding the Glory, Incarnation through the Arts

17. Truth, Meaning and Art

17.1 Harvey Cox, from The Seduction of the Spirit, The Use and Misuse of People’s Religion
17.2 Hans Küng, from Art and the Question of Meaning
17.3 David Tracy, from The Analogical Imagination
17.4 Langdon Gilkey, from ‘Can Art Fill the Vacuum?’
17.5 Frank Burch Brown, from Religious Aesthetics, A Theological Study of Making and Meaning
17.6 Mark C. Taylor, from Disfiguring: Art, Architecture, Religion
18. Imagination, Creativity and Faith

18.1 Emil Brunner, from The Divine Imperative
18.2 Nicolas A. Berdyaev, from Dream and Reality
18.3 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from Letters and Papers from Prison
18.4 William F. Lynch, from Images of Faith, An Exploration of the Ironic Imagination
18.5 Leonardo Boff, from Liberating Grace
18.6 Nicholas Wolterstorff, from Art in Action, Toward a Christian Aesthetic
18.7 John McIntyre, from Faith, Theology and Imagination
18.8 Garrett Green, from Imagining God, Theology and the Religious Imagination
18.9 Enda McDonagh, from The Gracing of Society
18.10 Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel, from I Am My Body
18.11 David F. Ford, from Self and Salvation, Being Transformed

19. Divine Revelation, Beauty, and the Vision of God

19.1 Friedrich von Hügel, from The Reality of God
19.2 Gerardus van der Leeuw, from Sacred and Profane Beauty, The Holy in Art
19.3 Karl Barth, from Church Dogmatics, vol. 2, The Doctrine of God
19.4 Hans Urs von Balthasar, from The Glory of the Lord, vol. 1, Seeing the Form
19.5 Jacques Maritain, from Art and Scholasticism
19.6 Charles Hartshorne, from Man’s Vision of God
19.7 Jürgen Moltmann, from Theology and Joy
19.8 Bernard Häring, from Free and Faithful in Christ
19.9 Leonid Ouspensky, Vladimir Lossky, from The Meaning of Icons
19.10 Sallie McFague, from Models of God, Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age
19.11 Patrick Sherry, from Spirit and Beauty
19.12 Richard Harries, from Art and the Beauty of God
19.13 John Navone, from Toward a Theology of Beauty
19.14 Alejandro García-Rivera, from The Community of the Beautiful, A Theological Aesthetics
19.15 Richard Viladesau, from Theological Aesthetics, God in Imagination, Beauty, and Art
19.16 Joan Chittister, from ‘Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of Light’

Further Reading
Acknowledgements
Subject Index
Name Index