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A Theology of CriticismBalthasar, Postmodernism, and the Catholic Imagination$
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Michael P. Murphy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195333527

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195333527.001.0001

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On the Theological Imagination

(p.155) 6 Coda
A Theology of Criticism

Michael Patrick Murphy

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 provides a short synthesis of the book. Balthasar's program challenges us to first “see the form” in the world, but also to see the Beautiful, the Good, and the True at work in a broad variety of narrative art. The book finds that, while Balthasar presents us with some practical directives that aid in elucidating the presence and veracity of such a vision, the Catholic imagination proposed does not have a monopoly on such tendencies. At minimum, the examination of the Catholic imagination helps recover the legitimate place of a “theological imagination” in the critical study of literary and narrative art. One conclusion posited is that the careful restoration of the theological imagination to discourses in meaning will aid in reestablishing “a theology of criticism,” that is, the kind of criticism that cultivates a more inclusive array of epistemologies. Another conclusion is that many aspects of postmodern critical thought are helping develop a more grounded—and interdisciplinary—theology of language.

Keywords:   Catholic imagination, Hans Urs von Balthasar, William Lynch, Denise Levertov, Beauty, analogical imagination, critical theory, incarnational, Trinity, trinitarian, Eucharist, postmodernism, love

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