Rowan Williams, Grace and Necessity

Grace, Necessity and Imagination: Catholic Philosophy and the Twentieth Century Artist The 2005 Clark Lectures at Trinity College, Cambridge Lecture 1: Modernism and the Scholastic Revival. January 20, 2005. Yet the artist’s work is inescapably a claim about reality. It is not, that is to say, a new world depending on the play of an individual psyche any more than it is the expression of a specific project of the artist’s will. ‘Poetry is ontology’, Maritain asserts in his essay on ‘The Frontiers of Poetry’, it has to do with our knowledge of being itself. Any poetic utterance, any visible … Continue reading Rowan Williams, Grace and Necessity

Anderson and Dyrness, Modern Art and the Life of a Culture

1. Internal vs. external interpretative frameworks (Emic vs. etic) Anderson & Dyrness show beyond any doubt that religious concerns were significant to many significant modern artists, and to the field as a whole. Let’s suppose that in the near future, the religious aspects of modern art do come to be widely recognized and widely studied—one might still wonder about how religious questions might inform or shape the scholarship and intepretations that will be produced. I have in mind the distinction between “emic and etic.” In anthropology, “emic” interpretations are offered by and for the cultural group being studied, while “etic” … Continue reading Anderson and Dyrness, Modern Art and the Life of a Culture

Jacques Maritain, Art and Scholasticism

Here are six summary statements of ideas in Maritain’s Art and Scholasticism, each followed by related quotations from the book. (Quotations are from the 1974 translation by Joseph W. Evans online here. Also, the earlier translation by J. F. Scanlan is online here.) 1. Real communication between subject (artist/viewer/public) and object (the work of art, or other objects) is possible. The alternative is to fall into the sterility of purely subjective or purely objective modes. In aesthetic experience, we are ‘really’ making contact with the Creation and through it, with the Creator. the splendor or radiance of the form glittering in the … Continue reading Jacques Maritain, Art and Scholasticism

David Lyle Jeffrey, The Beauty of Holiness

David Lyle Jeffrey, In the Beauty of Holiness. Eerdmans, 2017. 448pp, $49 cloth. See also reviews by John Wilson, Richard Viladesau, Jeffrey Lyle Bilbro, and Jonathan Homrighausen. 1. Beauty and Holiness Jeffrey’s book sets off firmly on the right foot by framing the two terms of its title in relation to one another: beauty and holiness. Beauty, in fact, is only really valuable in relation to holiness. To appreciate the value of this, one must remember all the ways that it’s possible to go wildly astray when thinking about beauty. Beauty is not just a tool of phallogocentric cisheteropatriarchal sexist oppression (as one … Continue reading David Lyle Jeffrey, The Beauty of Holiness

Elijah Ascends to Heaven / Elijah Succeeds Elisha

Elijah Ascends to Heaven Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’ Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay … Continue reading Elijah Ascends to Heaven / Elijah Succeeds Elisha

The Gerasene demoniac and the Gadarene swine

  Jesus Heals the Gerasene Demoniac  26 Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.  27As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs.           28When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me’— 29for Jesus had … Continue reading The Gerasene demoniac and the Gadarene swine