Senses of the Soul: Art and the Visual in Christian Worship

Overview

Description:
Senses of the Soul explores the way art and visual elements are incorporated into Christian worship. It incorporates research conducted in Los Angeles congregations. Through extensive interviews in a sample of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox congregations it looks into the way visual elements actually become part of the experience of worship. By looking at attitudes and experiences of beauty, art, and memories, it suggests that believers appropriate images and ...
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Overview

Description:
Senses of the Soul explores the way art and visual elements are incorporated into Christian worship. It incorporates research conducted in Los Angeles congregations. Through extensive interviews in a sample of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox congregations it looks into the way visual elements actually become part of the experience of worship. By looking at attitudes and experiences of beauty, art, and memories, it suggests that believers appropriate images and aesthetic encounters in terms of imaginative structures that have been formed through worship practices over time. By comparing responses across denominations, the book proposes that people receive visual elements in ways that have been shaped by long traditions and specific background beliefs. In addition to discussions of the differences between the major Christian traditions, the book also examines the relation of art and beauty to worship, the role of memories and everyday life, and the power of images in spirituality and worship.

By its focus on the worshiper, the book seeks to make a contribution to the growing conversation between the arts and Christian worship and to the process of worship renewal.

Endorsements:
""Senses of the Soul is an invaluable grass-roots study of how people actually use and engage the visual aspects of Christian worship. Rather than emphasizing what theology and liturgy think the arts should contribute (or not) to worship, Dyrness breaks new ground by listening to ordinary Christians' talk about what the arts actually do contribute. In so doing, he re-draws the boundaries of art and points to the power of our religious imaginations to direct our engagement with the visual and physical dimensions of Christian worship. I am very much looking forward to using this book in my own teaching and research.""
--Lisa DeBoer
Art Historian, Westmont College

""William Dyrness offers us here a very timely and strategic contribution to the growing conversation about how the arts can contribute to worship and the life of faith. By listening to so many varied voices of worshipers in actual congregations, Dyrness offers many illuminating insights that promise to sharpen not only the work of artists in many media, but also the faith life of pastors, theologians, worship leaders, and all thoughtful Christians who long for a multi-sensory life of prayer.""

--John D. Witvliet
Director, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Professor of Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary

""Senses of the Soul is a pioneering contribution to the ways in which Christians appropriate visual images in worship. Based on eighty interviews with individuals from Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic congregations in Southern California, this book creatively blends empirical research with theological and social-scientific insight. The book is richly illustrated with photos of religious images from the sites where William Dyrness did his research. This book opens a fresh chapter in our understanding of the embodiment of religious experience in artistic expression.""

--Donald E. Miller
Executive Director, Center for Religion and Civic Culture
University of Southern California

About the Contributor(s):
William A. Dyrness is Professor of Theology and Culture in the School of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author most recently of Reformed Theology and Visual Culture (2004) and Visual Faith (2001).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556358647
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/2008
  • Series: Art for Faith's Sake Series
  • Pages: 198
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

William A. Dyrness is Professor of Theology and Culture in the School of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author most recently of Reformed Theology and Visual Culture (2004) and Visual Faith (2001).

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Table of Contents


Preface     xi
Introduction     1
Recent Scholarship on the Use of the Visual in Religious Traditions     2
Theological Perspectives on Art and the Traditions of Worship     7
Protestant Worship     23
The Meaning of Worship: A Personal Event, Under the Right Conditions     24
Engaging the Arts, at a Distance     27
Discovering the Power of Art     29
Exploring the Visual in Worship     33
Protestants Connecting with the Tradition     38
Protestants and Art: Still an Uneasy Alliance?     42
Orthodox Worship     49
Liturgy and the Visual     49
Tradition and the Visual     53
Worship and Its Liturgical Logic     54
The Role of the Image in Orthodox Worship     58
The Orthodox Choice: Worship and Identity     61
The Visual Culture of Orthodoxy     64
Catholic Worship     69
God's Presence in the Forms of Worship     72
Worship in Concrete Forms     75
A Stimulus for the Imagination     83
The Visual and the Reform of Worship     85
"God Gathers Us All Through Beauty"     91
Beauty, Creation, and Worship     92
Beauty, Art, and Worship     96
Beauty and the Environment of Worship     98
The Beauty of Humanity and Worship     102
Conclusion: Beauty and Worship     105
Art, Worship, and Everyday Life     109
Icons, Art, and Everyday Life     111
Catholic Worship and Art     117
Protestant Aesthetics of Worship     120
The Mission of Art     126
The Power of Images     131
Orthodoxy: The World Creating Function of the Liturgy     133
The Fourfold Interpretation of Icons     136
Symbols and Sacramentals in Catholic Worship     137
Protestants and Pictures     144
Conclusion     155
The Shape of Christian Religious Traditions     155
Worship and American Culture     156
Worship Traditions and Ecumenical Prospects     159
The Persistence of Imaginative Traditions     161
Traditions and the Contingency of Reception     169
Worship and the Arts, One More Time     171
Appendix     173
List of Participating Churches     173
Interview Protocol for Congregants     175
Protocol for Leaders of Congregations      176
Bibliography     179
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Book

    Anything by Dr. Dyrness rises above all expectations. As a pastor to artists, I find this an indispensable book for ministry.

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