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ARTS 501

The Christian Imagination

Imagination is the vital capacity to perceive and (re)conceive patterns of relation and possibility—and thus imagination is fundamental to the way the world is intelligible as a world. The overarching aim of this course is to explore and experiment with what Christian imaginations might be and how they might flourish. Given the life-encompassing scale of that aim, this course will more narrowly focus on the arts, seeking to understand and deepen mutual exchanges between Christian theology and the arts in their many facets and in the many possible directionalities of such exchange.

We will pursue two main avenues of inquiry. On the one hand, we will explore various ways in which artistic activities and forms provide or are modes of theological reasoning. We will study several specific artworks in this regard, mulling over concrete examples of what we might call visual theology, musical theology, poetic theology, cinematic theology, and so on. On the other hand, this course will also provide in-depth engagement with some key texts and concepts that have shaped the current field of “theology and the arts.” In both avenues, we will focus on examples from around the world and through the centuries, but we will prioritize examples from the past one-hundred years or so. Over the course of the semester, students will process and respond to all this by making new work of their own in the medium and mode of their choosing, including artworks (first avenue) or critical writing (second avenue).
Credit Hours:
Audit Hours:

Additional Info

Winter 2024

This course is available onsite and online. Students must register for the online section to gain Zoom access to the course.

Course lectures will be recorded, and students may be captured in course recordings. Access to lecture recordings is normally only given to online students who cannot reasonably be expected to attend the course live due to time zone differences. These students should contact the course instructor for permission to access recordings.

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