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Visual Theology

Forming and Transforming the Community through the Arts
Edited by Robin M. Jensen and Kimberly Vrudny

ISBN: 9780814653999, 5399
Details: 256 pgs, 7 x 10
Publication Date: 07/01/2009


In Stock | $39.95
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At least since the time of Paul (see Acts 18), Christians have wrestled with the power and danger of religious imagery in the visual arts. It was not until the middle of the twentieth century that there emerged in Western Christianity an integrated, academic study of theology and the arts. One of the pioneers of that movement was H. Wilson Yates, emeritus professor at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, to whom this volume is dedicated.

Here, fourteen theologians and Yates himself examine how visual culture reflects or addresses pressing contemporary religious questions. The aim throughout is to engage the reader in theological reflection, mediated and enhanced by the arts. This beautifully illustrated book includes more than fifty images in full color.

Robin M. Jensen is the Luce Chancellor's Professor of the History of Christian Art and Worship at Vanderbilt University, where she teaches both in the Divinity School and the Art History Department, and directs a program on Art, Religion, and Contemporary Culture. She has written several books, articles, and essays on the subject of early Christian art and its intersection with Christian theology and practice. She is currently president for the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies.

Kimberly Vrudny is associate professor of systematic theology at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she also serves as Project Director for HIV/AIDS Initiatives. She is the author of Friars, Scribes, and Corpses: A Marian Confraternal Reading of The Mirror of Human Salvation (Leuven: Peeters, forthcoming); and coedited, with Wilson Yates, Arts, Theology and the Church: New Intersections (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2005). She is interested in the intersections of art, theology, and politics.

The essays in Visual Theology are exemplary in refusing to treat the visual arts as merely illustrative or as something inevitably calling for a verbal theological answer or completion. Daring to open our eyes in truly imaginative ways to numerous significant (if often lesser known) works, artists, and media, these astute interpreters also attend to ethos and ethics. They freshly envision cultural and religious communities of the past, and on into the future. The dedicatee, Wilson Yates, could not have been better honored.
Frank Burch Brown, Frederick Doyle Kershner Professor of Religion and the Arts, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, Indiana

Any reader interested in the intersection of art and theology will find this book a helpful and engaging read.

The volume serves as a versatile pedagogical resource for, among others, graduate students in the visual arts, religion and culture, and systematic and practical theology. It conveys the transformative power of modern art to perceive and respond to the social reality in dramatically alternative ways and cultivate skills of visual literacy.
Theological Studies

Every essay explores ideas that are fundamental to the visual expression of the sacred and to our receptivity to it. Fully illustrated in color, the book includes works by eminent artists, and introduces a gallery of refreshingly unexpected works by lesser knowns.
Faith & Form: The Interfaith Journal on Religion, Art, and Architecture

In five different sections, the essays in this volume provide constructive and fruitful ways for thinking about the relationship between Christian theology and the visual arts.
Christian Scholar's Review