10 May 2008

Art, Beauty & God: Recurrent Themes in Theological Aesthetics

Comment Magazine (in which I have published an article and a photo) recommends the following:

Comment author Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin will teach a course called "Art, Beauty & God: Recurrent Themes in Theological Aesthetics" this summer at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto.

"Since the early church Christian thinkers have been ambivalent about art and beauty. Some reviled them for their supposedly seductive or idolatrous nature, others revered them for their apparent capacity to serve as steppingstones to a higher, spiritual reality. Although since modern times art, beauty and religion stood in a troubled relationship to each other, both beauty and religion have made dramatic comebacks in recent discussions about art, as have art and beauty in theological debate. Co-taught by a theologian and a philosopher, the course will explore the relationships between: art and beauty; beauty and God; icons and idols; art and worldview; theological and philosophical aesthetics.

"The course will examine recent developments in theological aesthetics with a view to identifying which theories hold most promise for a holistic contemporary Christian aesthetics."

"Art, Beauty & God: Recurrent Themes in Theological Aesthetics" runs June 30 - July 11, 2008 at the ICS Campus. Registration deadline is June 21, 2008, online ( or by phone (Robbin Burry, Registrar, (416)979-2331 x234).

1 comment:

Ann Ahnemann said...

This is a great article, the theme of which has been very much on my mind recently. In another group we have been discussing the German term 'sehnsucht', used by C. S. Lewis, for one. He equates it with joy, or more precisely, Joy.
A longing evoked by things one sees, hears, smells, touch, which can only be satisfied by God and God's presence.
Here's the thing about it: that longing, sehnsucht, can easily descend into un-baptized romanticism. And I think that the church in the past, as the article points out, hasn't come to terms with beauty, let alone the human joys of love. One still hears today that love of beauty smacks of idolatry.
This is the life we are given, which God said was good. It is through this life, bread and wine, that we take God into the very cells of our bodies.
It is through beauty that we glimpse God’s glory; through human love that we taste of God’s love for us; through family and relationships with friends, caring for people, that we practice relationship with God.
How could one not love the beauty of the earth and the fullness thereof?
This hymn is truth! Lyrics: Folliott S. Pierpoint (1835-1917).
Music: Conrad Cocher in 1838.

For the beauty of the earth
For the Glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies:
'Lord of all, to Thee we raise
this our joyful hymn of grateful praise.
For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale and tree and flow'r
Sun and Moon and stars of light
For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child.
Friends on earth and friends above
For all gentle thoughts and mild.
Etc.! Love and laugh. Praise God!