Beauty's Vineyard: A Theological Aesthetic of Anguish and Anticipation, part spiritual memoir, part systematic theology, opens with an interpretation of the parable of the tenants and concludes with the parable of the workers in the vineyard. In between unfolds a systematic theology of anguish and anticipation in which the author wrestles with the social evils that plague our society and expresses hopeful anticipation for the coming of the "kingdom of God" about which Jesus spoke-a just and peaceful reality in the here and now that will find its ultimate consummation, Christians hope, in the hereafter. A theological understanding of Beauty as the incarnation of the Compassion of God guides the way, bringing the metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas into conversation with the liberative theologies of the Global South, through treatments of Trinity, imago Dei, sin, Christology, salvation, theodicy, and hope.
Kimberly Vrudny is an associate professor of systematic theology at the University of St. Thomas. She teaches and publishes in the areas of political theology, theological aesthetics, and the arts. She is also the senior editor of the academic journal ARTS: The Arts in Religious and Theological Studies.
"Like the stunning contemporary paintings that embody the themes explored, Kimberly Vrudny's book combines many distinct elements into a satisfyingly coherent whole. At once biblically centered and reverently interreligious, robustly Catholic and expansively ecumenical, grounded in a materially anguished creation and radically open to mystery, this unique approach to key themes of systematic theology significantly advances the field of theological aesthetics. This movingly personal and richly sourced work deftly demonstrates the unity of the aesthetic and the ethical. Here Beauty is the efficient marker for the indwelling of Goodness and Truth, calling us ever and lovingly to itself."
Cecilia Gonz�lez-Andrieu, Associate Professor of Theology, Loyola Marymount University, Author of Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty
"Vrudny teaches us to view the world in a way that is sensitive to beauty, uniqueness, justice, and loss. Scholars will find in this book a rich interweaving of the history of ideas alongside key theological principles. She performs complex and careful philosophical reflections and scriptural interpretations with such ease that an attentive reader can follow her without strain."
Anne M. Carpenter, Christian Century
"This book is a major contribution to the work of theological aesthetics. Beautifully written, it locates beauty as the `vineyard' of the just and loving community and integrates the idea of beauty and the role of art as crucial to the work of theology. Constructive and systematic theologians as well as theologians of art will welcome this splendidly written book."
Wilson Yates, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Religion, Society and the Arts, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
"In Beauty's Vineyard, Kimberly Vrudny has woven together profound insights from her reading of Scripture and her own rich experience that help us to see both the harsh reality of suffering and the imperative of hope in fresh and connected ways. This is a significant contribution to theological aesthetics, especially as it relates to and informs the struggle for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation."
John W. de Gruchy, Emeritus Professor, University of Cape Town
"Vrudny's work here is truly multi-dimensional: from one angle, the book is stably anchored as a work of systematic theology; from another, it is as equally anchored in the Catholic tradition; and from a third, the book conveys the author's own spiritual journey. The main story that Vrudny offers is this: if we take theological aesthetics seriously, we will find that the Christian story can be organized around the category of beauty—a beauty that takes the triune shape in the classical transcendentals of truth, beauty, and goodness."
Craig A. Ford, Catholic Books Review
"Each chapter could stand alone, and function well as a selected reading for an upper level undergraduate or graduate course. Those interested in Christian theological aesthetics and theological dialogue with art, especially with social realist paintings highlighting injustice and suffering, will want to read this book."
Alison Downie, Reading Religion
"Kimberly Vrudny's Beauty's Vineyard provides a much-needed theological aesthetic that is at once lucid, wide-ranging, scripturally probing, and ethically engaged. Informed in part by liberation and feminist theology, this is a passionate and compassionate work of theology that is exceptional in combining a prophetic tone with a core concern for beauty and for artistic expression. Rooted in the North American context, Vrudny's outlook is also international in perspective, profoundly shaped by her experiences and work in South Africa in particular."
Frank Burch Brown, Frederick Doyle Kershner Professor Emeritus of Religion and the Arts, Christian Theological Seminary