Protestant Aesthetics and the Arts: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Protestant Aesthetics and the Arts

1st Edition

Edited by Sarah Covington, Kathryn Reklis


304 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780367029050
pub: 2020-02-19
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 19th February 2020

FREE Standard Shipping!


The Reformation was one of the defining cultural turning points in Western history, even if there is a longstanding stereotype that Protestants did away with art and material culture. Rather than reject art and aestheticism, Protestants developed their own aesthetic values, which Protestant Aesthetics and the Arts addresses as it identifies and explains the link between theological aesthetics and the arts within a Protestant framework across five-hundred years of history.

Featuring essays from an international gathering of leading experts working across a diverse set of disciplines, Protestant Aesthetics and the Arts is the first study of its kind, containing essays that address Protestantism and the fine arts (visual art, music, literature, and architecture), and historical and contemporary Protestant theological perspectives on the subject of beauty and imagination. Contributors challenge accepted preconceptions relating to the boundaries of theological aesthetics and religiously determined art; disrupt traditional understandings of periodization and disciplinarity; and seek to open rich avenues for new fields of research.

Building on renewed interest in Protestantism in the study of religion and modernity and the return to aesthetics in Christian theological inquiry, this volume will be of significant interest to scholars of Theology, Aesthetics, Art and Architectural History, Literary Criticism, and Religious History.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction, by Kathryn Reklis

2 God, Language and the Use of the Senses: The Emergence of a Protestant Aesthetic in the Early Modern Period, by William Dyrness

3 Protestant Paintings: Artworks by Lucas Cranach and His Workshop, by Christiane Andersson

4 Tradition and Invention: German Lutheran Church Architecture, by Emily Fisher Gray

5 Forbidden Fruit? Protestant Aesthetics in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Still Life, by Julie Berger Hochstrasser

6 Anti-Papal Aesthetics and the Gunpowder Plot: Staging Barnabe Barnes’ The Devil’s Charter, by Adrian Streete

7 Unintended Aesthetics? The Artistic Afterlives of Protestant Iconoclasm, by Sarah Covington

8 Isaac Watts and the Theological Aesthetics of Evangelical Sacred Song, by Stephen A. Marini

9 Beauty and the Protestant Body: Aesthetic Abstraction in Jonathan Edwards, by Kathryn Reklis

10 Theology and Aesthetics in the Early Nineteenth Century: Kierkegaard’s Alternative to Hegel and Romanticism, by Lee C. Barrett

11 Karl Barth’s Doctrine of the Word of God, Mozart & Aesthetics in Four Movements, by Paul Louis Metzger

12 The Protestant Encounter with Modern Architecture, by Gretchen T. Buggeln

13 Jazz Religious and Secular, by Jason C. Bivins

14 “Gorgeousness inheres in anything”: The Protestant Origins of John Updike and Marilynne Robinson’s Aesthetics of the Ordinary, by Alex Engebretson

15 Black Protestantism and the Aesthetics of Autonomy: A Decolonial Theological Reflection, by Rufus Burnett

16 The Borderlands Aesthetics of Mexican-American Pentecostalism, by Lloyd Barba

17 Embodied Aesthetics and Transnational Korean Protestant Christianity, by Minjung Noh

18 Conclusion, by Sarah Covington

About the Editors

Sarah Covington is Professor of History at the Graduate Center and Queens College of the City University of New York, USA. She is the author of The Trail of Martyrdom: Wounds, Flesh and Metaphor in Seventeenth-Century England (2009) and The Trail of Martyrdom: Persecution and Resistance in Sixteenth-Century England (2003). Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, Albion, Book History, Reformation, the Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, History, and Mortality, in addition to numerous book collections.

Kathryn Reklis is Associate Professor of Modern Protestant Theology at Fordham University in New York City, USA. Her first monograph was Theology and the Kinesthetic Imagination: Jonathan Edwards and the Making of Modernity (2014) and she is currently at work on a history of the "Religion and Literature" movement in the mid-twentieth century. She is the On Media columnist for The Christian Century and holds affiliate positions in Comparative Literature and American Studies at Fordham.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Theology, Imagination and the Arts

What have imagination and the arts to do with theology? For much of the modern era, the answer has been 'not much'. It is precisely this deficit that this series seeks to redress. For, whatever role they have or have not been granted in the theological disciplines, imagination and the arts are undeniably bound up with how we as human beings think, learn and communicate, engage with and respond to our physical and social environments and, in particular, our awareness and experience of that which transcends our own creatureliness. The arts are playing an increasingly significant role in the way people come to terms with the world; at the same time, artists of many disciplines are showing a willingness to engage with religious or theological themes. A spate of publications and courses in many educational institutions has already established this field as one of fast-growing concern. This series taps into a burgeoning intellectual concern on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. The peculiar inter-disciplinarity of theology, and the growing interest in imagination and the arts in many different fields of human concern, afford the opportunity for a series that has its roots sunk in varied and diverse intellectual soils, while focused around a coherent theological question: How are imagination and the arts involved in the shaping and reshaping of our humanity as part of the creative and redemptive purposes of God, and what roles do they perform in the theological enterprise? Many projects within the series have particular links to the work of the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts in the University of St Andrews, and to the Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts at Duke University.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Aesthetics
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Christianity / Literature & the Arts
RELIGION / Christianity / History
RELIGION / Christianity / Protestant
RELIGION / Christian Theology / General
RELIGION / Christian Theology / History
RELIGION / Christianity / General
RELIGION / Theology
RELIGION / Christian Church / General