"Beautifully written, Through the Dark Field draws the reader in and calls to conversion. Susie Paulik Babka effortlessly weaves together diverse sources—phenomenology, expressionist art, and Christian theology—in a way that disrupts privileged certainty with compassionate vulnerability. Echoing the artists she engages, her constructive retrieval of the doctrine of the incarnation refuses easy answers to life's difficult questions, challenging the comfortable to do more than look at suffering. This is truly a stunning example of interdisciplinary Christian theological scholarship! Don't miss it!"
Elisabeth T. Vasko, Associate Professor of Theology, Director of Undergraduate Studies in Theology, Duquesne University
"The doctrine about incarnation is not the real thing. How, then, do we approach the presence of a God so self-emptied as to appear absent? The way must involve encounter, engage the muscle of the mind that makes images, and transcend the images. Susie Paulik Babka leads us on this way, accompanied by Masaccio's bringing God into our space, by Chagall's association of Jesus with ravaged Jews throughout history, by Rothko's mystical negation of representation itself. This meditative, analytical, affective, personal, penetrating, philosophically learned, aesthetically astute, dialectical, and elegantly written approach to God through the visual arts breaks new ground and should inspire the whole field of constructive theology in our present age."
Roger Haight, SJ, Union Theological Seminary
"A truly profound and thought-provoking study that probes the meaning and existential significance of the incarnation via a gripping engagement with systematic, philosophical, and comparative theology, drawn together via the medium of aesthetics. A highly original work that will prove an invaluable addition to any class in such fields. This stunning monograph will transform how you think and feel alike."
Gerard Mannion, Amaturo Chair in Catholic Studies, Georgetown University
"Through the Dark Field is an original and insightful work in constructive theology. Babka's language and style of writing lead the reader to spaces of unknowing, to voids where certainty falls away and only questions remain. This book makes a valuable contribution to interdisciplinary Christian theological scholarship and will provide both theologians and artists with valuable insight for their work."
"Babka has produced a beautifully written book on the complex relationship between art, theology, and vulnerability, which also offers a commentary on recent religious extremism and violence. Recommended for college and university libraries."
Terry Maksymowych, Catholic Library World
"This work is a call for theology to risk being vulnerable, to step into the void in order to witness and respond to the stranger, the infinite Other, and the "God past all grasp.' A relevant addition to university and seminary libraries."
Anglican Theological Review
"Through the Dark Field is a grace-filled indictment of any easy answer to catastrophic suffering. Susie Paulik Babka's call for each one of us to open to an absurd sort of excess, an overflowing of not knowing, of disorienting vulnerability, the abyss between me and you, is poetic and haunting. In the end, Babka creates a theology of the incarnation that witnesses to the suffering other. Even in our failures, and there are many, we are called to witness to the incarnation by witnessing to all others' suffering, ultimately emptied for the other. This witness is made urgent by Babka's passion for the promise of the visual arts and her sophisticated command of continental theory."
Michele Saracino, Professor and Chair of the Religious Studies Department, Manhattan College