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Unformatted text preview: Ars Disputandi Volume 7 ( 2007 ) : 1566 – 5399 Wessel Stoker , God, Master of Arts On the Relation between Art and Religion Abstract What does theology have to do with art in this (post)modern period? To make clear why art and religion can be related in a positive way, the question of why art is of value will be posed ( 1 ). Subsequently some examples will be critically discussed of how art and religion have been related in theological aesthetics ( 2 ). Finally, in dialogue with the positions discussed, I will develop my own approach to theological aesthetics ( 3 ). [ 1 ] What does theology have to do with art in this (post)modern period? Or, stated more broadly, what do art and religion have to do with each other in our time? I will show that aesthetics, as the study of the beautiful, as the philosophy or science of art (Miriam-Webster Unabridged), is also part of Christian theology. 1 Theological aesthetics is one of the disciplines through which theology finds its place in culture; more specifically, it is the field of study in which reflection on art and literature in their significance for religion, church and theology, takes place. [ 2 ] The question of whether art and religion can be of significance to each other is sometimes answered negatively by those involved in art as well as by theologians or lay believers. As far as the field of art is concerned – in my title I use the plural because there are several arts but, for convenience’s sake, I will usually use the singular – in the Netherlands, unlike in Germany, England or the United States, there is often silence with respect to religious themes in art. Joost de Wal, who researched the topic of Dutch visual art and religion from 1945 – 1990 , writes: in Germany and the United States a great deal of attention is bestowed by art historians, theologians and critics on religious themes in the work of prominent contemporary artists, but that does not happen – aside from the odd exception – in the Netherlands 2 [ 3 ] At the end of his study, de Wal concluded that religion [plays] a more important role in art after the war than is apparent from a renowned survey like De Nederlandse identiteit in de kunst na 1945 ( 1984 ). 1 . For the term aesthetics I refer to the following works: The Routledge Companion to Aes- thetics , ed. B. Gaut and D. McIver Lopes (London: Routledge, 2002 ); Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art: The Analytic Tradition. An Anthology , ed. P. Lamarque and S.H. Olsen (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004 ); ‘Ästhetik,’ in: Theologische Realenzyklopädie (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1977 ), part 1 , pp. 544 – 72 ....
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- Fall '07
- Ode, Master of Arts, van der Leeuw, Ars Disputandi, Wessel Stoker