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Theological AestheticsGod in Imagination, Beauty, and Art$
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Richard Viladesau

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195126228

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195126228.001.0001

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Theology and Aesthetics

Theology and Aesthetics

(p.3) Chapter 1 Theology and Aesthetics
Theological Aesthetics

Richard Viladesau (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the notion of “theological aesthetics.” In its wide sense, theological aesthetics includes “aesthetic theology” — that is, the use by theology of the language, methods, and contents of the aesthetic realm. The art of making theological discourse affecting and beautiful (“theopoesis”) is appropriate to all branches and kinds of theology. The application of aesthetic theory (e.g. literary analysis) to theological contents is most pertinent to those “functional specialties” that Lonergan names research, interpretation, history, and communications. The remaining specialties — dialectics, foundations, doctrines, and systematics — are the principal field of theological aesthetics in its narrower sense: the use of properly theological starting points, categories, and methods to formulate an account of (i) perception (including sensation and imagination), (2) beauty, and (3) the arts. Such an account may be formulated from the point of view of what Tracy calls “systematic” theology, or from the complementary perspectives of foundational and practical theology.

Keywords:   theological aesthetics, aesthetic theology, aesthetic theory, perception, beauty, the arts, systematic theology

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