Theology as Performance: Music, Aesthetics, and God in Western Thought / Edition 1

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Overview

Theology as Performance breaks new ground in the growing conversation between modern theology and philosophical aesthetics. Stoltzfus proposes that significant moments in the Western development of the concept of God, in particular as represented in the figures of Friedrich Schleiermacher, Karl Barth, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, have been deeply influenced by concepts and approaches borrowed from the discipline of musical aesthetics. Each thinker develops fundamentally different ways of writing about God that have in significant respects been derived from each one's reading and writing about music. The aesthetic implications of Schleiermacher's so-called subjectivist turban, Barth's objectivist reaction, and Wittgenstein's language-game pragmatism can thus be fully understood only by attending to the musical culture and distinctly musicological discourses that gave rise to them. Stoltzfus constructs two trajectories of thought with which to trace theological reflection upon music throughout the pre-modern period: the traditions of Orpheus and Pythagoras. Schleiermacher's aesthetic approach, then, becomes a modern representative of the Orpheus trajectory, and Barth's approach a representative of the Pythagoras trajectory. Stoltzfus interprets Wittgenstein as putting forward a radical critique of these trajectories and pointing toward a third, "performative" theological-aesthetic method. Theology as Performance offers a provocative rethinking of the aesthetic roots of modern theology.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780567029218
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 6/5/2006
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 298
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Stoltzfus is Assistant Professor of Religion at Saint Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. He holds M.Div. (1991) and Th.D. (2000) degrees from Harvard Divinity School. His areas of interest include modern constructive theology, theological aesthetics, and liberation theologies.

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Table of Contents

1 Prospects for a musical-aesthetic critique of modern theology 1
2 Pythagoras and Orpheus as premodern theological resources 18
3 Schleiermacher on music as the expression of feeling and mood 49
4 Barth on music as timelessly valid form 107
5 Wittgenstein on music as performance 167
6 Theology as performance assessment and application 242
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