Scripture, Metaphysics, and Poetry: Austin Farrer's The Glass of Vision With Critical Commentary, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Scripture, Metaphysics, and Poetry

Austin Farrer's The Glass of Vision With Critical Commentary, 1st Edition

Edited by Robert MacSwain


234 pages

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Paperback: 9781138279407
pub: 2016-11-17
Hardback: 9781409450832
pub: 2013-12-17
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This book offers a critical edition of arguably the greatest work of English theology in the 20th century: Austin Farrer's Bampton Lectures published as The Glass of Vision in 1948. Farrer was an interdisciplinary genius who made original contributions to philosophy, theology, and biblical studies, as well as to our understanding of the role of imagination in human thought and Christian doctrine. According to Farrer, the three primary themes of these lectures are 'scripture, metaphysics, and poetry,' individually and in relation to each other. The lectures defend his famous theory of divine revelation through images rather than propositions or events, a provocative account of the place of metaphysical reasoning in theology, and a literary approach to the Biblical text that was decades ahead of its time and is still controversial. The Glass of Vision has generated a rich and interesting interdisciplinary conversation that has lasted for decades, starting with commentators such as Helen Gardner and Frank Kermode. In addition to Farrer's full text, this critical edition also contains an introduction to the significance and context of Farrer's thought, and a selection of thirty-years' worth of commentary by leading British and European theologians and literary scholars: David Brown, Ingolf Dalferth, Hans Haugh, Douglas Hedley, David Jasper, and Gerard Loughlin. Of interest to literary and biblical scholars, theologians, and philosophers, this book holds particular value for those exploring the nature of imagination in contemporary thought and scholarship.


’Theological readers owe MacSwain and his contributors a great debt for renewing our careful attention to Austin Farrer's The Glass of Vision. A fresh generation of scholars stands to benefit immeasurably by learning from Farrer's deep, catholic imagination. These lectures, and the whole of Farrer's work, display his standing as a nonpareil reader of Scripture and the Anglican Christian tradition.' A.K.M. Adam, St Stephen's House, Oxford University, UK

About the Editor

Robert MacSwain is Assistant Professor of Theology and Christian Ethics, The School of Theology, The University of the South, Sewanee, TN, USA. The author of Solved by Sacrifice: Austin Farrer, Fideism, and the Evidence of Faith (Peeters, 2013), he has also co-edited four previous volumes: with Jeffrey Stout, Grammar and Grace: Reformulations of Aquinas and Wittgenstein (SCM Press, 2004); with Ann Loades, The Truth-Seeking Heart: Austin Farrer and His Writings (Canterbury Press, 2006); with Michael Ward,The Cambridge Companion to C. S. Lewis (Cambridge University Press, 2010); and with Taylor Worley, Theology, Aesthetics, and Culture: Responses to the Work of David Brown (Oxford University Press, 2012).

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.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Theology