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A Philosophy of Christian Art

Gustafsson, Daniel (2014) A Philosophy of Christian Art. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis offers an original and comprehensive philosophical approach to the understanding of Christian art. It draws on a range of sources, from analytic and theological aesthetics, philosophy and theology, to interpret and articulate a vision of the aims and prerogatives of Christian art. Works by William Blake, David Jones, and R. S. Thomas are among those receiving close attention; works which yield a picture of art and creative labour as deeply implicated in the central mysteries and practices of the Christian faith. In five chapters, the thesis addresses the nature and the implications of the Form, the Beauty, the Good, the Ontology, and the Love of Christian art. It is the aim of Christian art to manifest God under the particular forms and beauty of the artwork. These forms are realised and discerned in the context of a Christian life. The artwork’s beauty invites a response of delight, gratitude, and the reorientation of our desires and dispositions towards the infinite beauty of God. As a sacramental object, the Christian artwork is positioned in a Christian ontological narrative, in which we humans are entrusted with transformative stewardship of the world. Outside this conceptual and ontological context, the work will not be experienced as what it is. Ultimately, the Christian artwork begs to be perceived and engaged with – as indeed it is created – as an object of love. Thus the artwork finds its place within an understanding of Christian faith as the striving for a personal union with God. Above all, Christian art is made, received and loved as part of our calling to grow in the divine likeness. In presenting this vision, the thesis breaks new ground, and not only makes significant contributions to analytic and theological aesthetics, but also offers material with implications for philosophy and theology more widely.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Art, Christian art, aesthetics, beauty, love
Academic Units: The University of York > Philosophy (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.635426
Depositing User: Dr Daniel Gustafsson
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2015 15:18
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8052

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