From the visual and textual art of Anglo-Saxon England onwards, images held a surprising power in the Western Christian tradition. Not only did these artistic representations provide images through which to find God, they also held mystical potential, and likewise mystical writing, from the early medieval period onwards, is also filled with images of God that likewise refracts and reflects His glory. This collection of essays introduces the currents of thought and practice that underpin this artistic engagement with Western Christian mysticism, and explores the continued link between art and theology.
The book features contributions from an international panel of leading academics, and is divided into four sections. The first section offers theoretical and philosophical considerations of mystical aesthetics and the interplay between mysticism and art. The final three sections investigate this interplay between the arts and mysticism from three key vantage points.
The purpose of the volume is to explore this rarely considered yet crucial interface between art and mysticism. It is therefore an important and illuminating collection of scholarship that will appeal to scholars of theology and Christian mysticism as much as those who study literature, the arts and art history.
"Ultimately, Art and Mysticism offers a worthy contribution to contemporary discussions of both art and theology, in ways that are often strikingly original and consistently thought provoking. Moreover, by situating the array of presented subject matter within the broader conversation concerning the role of mediation, representation, and perception in religious thought and practice, this book makes the compelling claim that the study of mysticism is crucial to the study (and practice) of art, and that art illuminates mystical traditions in ways that have been neglected for too long."
- Jack Louis Pappas, Fordham University, Reading Religion
Art, Articulation and Incarnation: Mystical Theology and Seeing the Invisible
Helen Appleton and Louise Nelstrop
PART I: Art, Aesthetics and Mysticism in Theory and Practice
1 Beneath the Surface: Whose Phenomenology? Which Art?
2 Art and Inarticulacy
3 Art, Contemplation and intellectus: Aquinas and Gadamer in Conversation
Rik Van Nieuwenhove
PART II: Art, Mysticism and the Everyday
4 Jan van Eyck and the Active Mysticism of the Devotio Moderna
5 Art and Mysticism as Horticulture: Late Medieval Enclosed Gardens of the Low Countries in an Interdisciplinary Perspective
6 Medieval Pop: Warhol’s Byzantine Iconography
Jewell Homad Johnson
Part III: Metaphor, Making and Transcendence
7 An Artist’s Notes on the Art and the Articulation of the Mystical Moment
8 The Desert of Religion: A Voice and Images in the Wilderness
9 « Bon Jhesu, sainctefie ces deux, conjoins ensamble par sacrement de mariage »: le rapport entre le texte et l’image dans le Livre de la vertu du sacrement de mariage et reconfort des dames mariees de Philippe de Mézières
Part IV: Into the Darkness
10 ‘It’s Not Dark Yet, but It’s Gettin’ There’
11 Visions of the Otherworld: The Accounts of Fursey and Dryhthelm in Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica and in the Homilies of Ælfric
12 The Gaze of Divine Sorrow: Vision and Mystical Unionin Dürer, Cusa, and the Theologia Germanica
Simon D. Podmore
This series facilitates new points of synergy and fresh theological engagements with Christian mystical traditions. Reflecting the plurality of theological approaches to Christian mystical theology, books in the series cover historical, literary, practical, and systematic perspectives as well as philosophical, psychological, and phenomenological methods.
Although the primary focus of the series is the Christian tradition, exploration of texts from other traditions also highlight the theological, psychological and philosophical questions that Christian mysticism brings to the fore.