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A Wounded Innocence

A Wounded Innocence

Sketches for a Theology of Art
Alejandro R. García-Rivera

ISBN: 9780814651124, 5112
Details: 154 pgs, 6 x 9 x 5/16
Publication Date: 03/01/2003


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What is the theological significance of art? Why has the Church always encouraged the arts? What is so profoundly human about the arts? In A Wounded Innocence Alejandro R. García-Rivera answers these questions in a series of "sketches" that are mixed spiritual and theological reflections on various works of art written in a poetic style. These reflections explore the relationship between the multi-dimensional spiritual and the arts.

The first “sketch,” “The Beginning of Art,” introduces the rest that go on to explore further the human, artistic, and theological implications of a wounded innocence. Each “sketch” reflects on a particular human work of art. Some are conventional works of art. Others may never find their way into a museum but, then, that is one of the implications coming out of this book. A museum does not define what a work of art is, its human depth does. In these deeply studied yet spiritually written reflections on each work of art, it is hoped that the reader will find his and her own creative depth described, perhaps even revealed.

A Wounded Innocence is both inspiring and informative. Readers will learn about art, spirituality, and theology, and will find themselves inspired to look at works of art, and even to produce a work of art. It sets a new way of doing theology that is at the same time spiritual. More importantly, García-Rivera describes a theology of art.

Chapters are “The Beginning of Art,” “The End of Art,” “Human Freedom and Artistic Creativity,” “Heaven-with-Us,” “The Human Aspect of Atonement,” “The Tyger and the Lamb,” and “A Wounded Innocence.” Includes black and white art.

Alejandro R. García-Rivera, PhD, is associate professor of systematic theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. The author of numerous articles, he also wrote a Catholic Press Association award-winning book on theology and aesthetics titled The Community of the Beautiful (The Liturgical Press).

A Wounded Innocence is breath-taking in the range of works of art it covers. . . . The author displays an awe-inspiring grasp of church history, contemporary theology and art history.
Art and Christianity

Alejandro García-Rivera is more systematic than most theologians because he includes unifying appreciation of imagery and symbols in the living system of a whole faith as well as analysis of textual parts which preoccupy and divide many theologies. His approach promises insightful reconciliation by viewing art works like the Vietnam Memorial while attending to the aesthetics of doctrines like justification rather than by arguing from previous linguistic misunderstandings which separate Christians. His theology of art invites confessing, forgiving, and living with wounded innocence as creative presence in mystery more than memory.
Doug Adams, Professor of Christianity and Arts, Pacific School of Religion and Graduate Theological Union

Anyone who aspires to be a wounded healer would profit from a reading of A Wounded Innocence.
Robert Brusic, Luther Seminary, Word & World

The great value of this book is the way its author . . . brings together such diverse pieces. . . . This book reflects wide reading, deep humanity, and enthusiasm.
Theology Today

The book's clear, illustrative language as well as the range of topics and perspectives offered makes it suitable for students, professional theologians, artists, ministers and the interested lay reader . . . García-Rivera creates a hospitable environment through which the reader can apply his or her own experience of faith, art and the created world. . . . By offering his thoughts on humanity’s relationship to beauty, García-Rivera has produced a courageous and timely theological experiment that takes Christian images seriously. It is a valuable resource for anyone working to integrate his or her spiritual theology with imaginative prayer and the pursuit of art.
New Theology Review

The book provides some colorful and original sketches for a theology of art from a creative thinker.
Milltown Studies