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Bridge to Wonder

Art as a Gospel of Beauty

By Cecilia González-Andrieu

Publication Year: 2012

It is often difficult to describe beauty or even justify attempts to experience something beautiful. Yet if artists—whether painters or poets, actors or musicians, architects or sculptors—teach us anything, it is that the pursuit of beauty is a common feature among all humanity. As Cecilia González-Andrieu contends, these varied experiences with artistic beauty are embedded with revelatory and prophetic power that not only affects a single individual but allows for communal formation. Named one ofAmerica magazine’s most promising young theologians, González-Andrieu seeks to engage art in order to reveal its religious significance. Bridge to Wonder proposes a method of theological aesthetics allowing readers to mine the depths of creative beauty to discover variegated theological truths that enable greater communion with each other and the One source of all that is beautiful.

Published by: Baylor University Press

Half Title Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-9

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments y Agradecimientos

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pp. xi-xv

The first person any author should thank is his or her reader, so thank you. I am grateful that you are entering this conversation with me, and I hope it will be fruitful and serve to prompt many insights. As you will read in more detail, my curiosity about experiences...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-9

Even though his works are part of art collections from the Vatican to the Smithsonian, John August Swanson (American, b. 1938) routinely admits to feeling like an amateur, even after four decades as an artist.1 In one of his early works, the beautifully rendered visual story...

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2. This Book Is Not about Art

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pp. 11-24

To say this book is not about art is to imply that it is about something else, and one way to begin exploring this something else is to examine first the work of art. By this, clearly, I do not mean an artwork, but rather the work—the “tasks”—that art accomplishes. In...

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3. In Search of Wonder

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pp. 25-44

One way to frame the capacity of art to be theological is in terms of its ability to facilitate theological “work.” Creative work (as an activity) and creative works (in their many roles) often explore and also evoke experiences that have all the characteristics of revelation.1...

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4. Seeing (as) Salvation, the Hope of Art and Religion

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pp. 45-61

In an earlier period of history, the work I wish to do in this chapter would have been next to impossible. Seeing Salvation is an art exhibition I did not visit, taking place in London while I was a struggling graduate student living over 5,000 miles away in Los Angeles. But...

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5. Beautiful Differences

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pp. 63-86

It is fitting to celebrate the mingling of art and the religious in their common work of facilitating revelatory wonder-making. Seeing Salvation was a significant achievement as it brought the religious and artistic together in the midst of the aggressively secular environment of...

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6. Beyond Boundaries and Unknowable Otherness

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pp. 87-100

In contemporary terms, the predominant metaphor for the method of engagement between art and religion is “intersection,”1 a word that has become quite popular to describe many diverse efforts of interdisciplinary studies.2 Yet in relation to art and religion, even intersection...

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7. The Impossible Definition

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pp. 101-116

To define art seems impossible because “art” is a quintessentially contested statement and it is art’s nature to be thus.1 Definitions become static, creating sets of criteria that are then used to judge something as or as not something else. Because everything about the process...

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8. Beauty in Turmoil

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pp. 117-129

The exploration of the arts as effective bridges to experiences of revelatory wonder has at its core a hope. The hope is that human life may be more fully permeated with truth, goodness, and beauty. In the communities I belong to, this hope is not born of an...

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9. The Bridge to Wonder Is Ours to Build

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pp. 131-152

When I was in college, a friend and I launched a laughably small and fragile catamaran out on the legendary San Francisco Bay. When we finally reached the bridge, we sat in awe of its towers rising above us over seven-hundred feet (about the size of a fifty-story building).1...

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10. Glimpses and Destellos

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pp. 153-166

On a visit to Israel in my twenties, I recall the wonder of waiting for sunrise on a hill. We were sitting in the dark so we could film the beginnings of the day for a documentary. As dawn slowly transformed the landscape, I noticed a lone figure in the clearing beneath...


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pp. 167-220


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pp. 221-232

Index [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 233-242

E-ISBN-13: 9781602583528
E-ISBN-10: 1602583528
Print-ISBN-13: 9781602583511
Print-ISBN-10: 160258351X

Page Count: 250
Illustrations: 16 color image signature, 4 b/w illustrations
Publication Year: 2012