Faith and Beauty: A Theological Aesthetic

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""Aesthetics" and "theological aesthetics" usually imply a focus on questions about the arts and how faith or religion relates to the arts; only the final pages of this work take up that problem. The central theme of this book is that of beauty. Farley employs a new typology of western texts on beauty and a theological analysis of the image of God and redemption to counter the centuries-long tendency to ignore or marginalize beauty and the aesthetic as part of the life of faith." Studying the interpretation of beauty in ancient Greece, eighteenth-century England, the work of Jonathan Edwards, and nineteenth and twentieth-century philosophies of human self-transcendence, the author explores whether Christian existence, the life of faith, and the ethical exclude or require an aesthetic dimension in the sense of beauty. The work will be of particular interest to those interested in Christian theology, ethics, and religion and the arts.
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Editorial Reviews

John Cook
The most important book I have read for years. Farley strikes the right chord in the way he goes behind the current discussion and lays a solid foundation for the kind of theological depth that has to be brought to the question of beauty. He makes the issue alive to the most recent scholarship.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface vii
1 Beauty as the Beast: Traditional and Postmodern Expressions 1
Beauty and the Postmodern 2
Beauty as the Beast in Christian Traditions 6
Hebraic and Christian Iconoclasms 8
2 Beauty as Being: The Irrepressible Character of Beauty 15
The 'Great Theory of Beauty' 17
The Olympian Cosmogonies 17
The Platonic Tradition 19
The Great Theory in the Middle Ages 20
The Process Transmutation of the Great Theory of Beauty 23
Beauty as Being 26
3 Beauty as Sensibility 31
Precursors of the Eighteenth-century Turn 32
The New Problematic of Beauty in the Eighteenth Century 33
The Psychological Relocation of Beauty 34
The Problem of Taste 35
The Sublime 36
Legacies and Ambiguities 38
4 Beauty as Benevolence 43
Primary and Secondary Beauty 44
Beauty as Community 45
Beauty and God 46
The Problem of Objectivity 47
Beauty and Self-transcendence 48
5 Beauty in Human Self-transcendence 51
Human Self-transcendence without Beauty 52
Self-transcendence as Passionate Subjectivity 52
Self-transcendence as Intentional Meaning 54
Self-transcendence as Radical Responsibility 55
The Aesthetic Aspect of Self-transcendence 57
Beauty as a Transcendental Condition of Experience 57
Beyond Self-preoccupation through Beauty 59
The Beauty of the Graceful Body 62
Summary 64
6 Paths to Beauty in Twentieth-century Theology 67
Anti-Aesthetic Protestant Approaches to Beauty 68
Twentieth-century Catholic Theologies of Beauty 74
7 The Beauty of Human Redemption 83
The Image of God as Self-transcendence 85
Formal and Ethical Self-transcendence 86
The Image of God as Potentiality and Actuality 87
The Imago Dei as Beautiful 88
The Despoiled Image 89
The Beauty of Redemptive Remaking 93
Redemptive Self-transcendence 93
Surmounting the Dichotomy of the Ethical and the Aesthetic 94
Faith's Aesthetic Sensibilities 96
8 Beauty, Pathos and Joy 101
Beauty and Pathos 101
Joy: Beyond the Dichotomy of Rigorism and Satisfaction 103
Faith without Beauty 107
Arts in the Life of Faith 110
Synopsis 117
Aesthetics 117
Beauty 117
The Western Story of Beauty 118
Theological Aesthetics and Redemptive Transformation 119
Index 121
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