Update: The course was regrettably cancelled on April 20, much to the chagrin of the students who were already registered. Such is life. I am hopeful I will have the chance to offer it again in the future; if you feel your school would benefit from a course offering in theological aesthetics please don’t hesitate to contact me! – BP
Join me this May for “Beauty Ever Ancient, Ever New: An Introduction to Theological Aesthetics,” a course I am teaching at the University of St. Michael’s College (part of the Toronto School of Theology, which is affiliated with the University of Toronto).
We’ll be talking about beauty, art, and God in the heart of the city!
Here is the course description:
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” “Beauty is only skin deep.” For many, beauty is a ‘superficial’ concept whlch seems out of place in Christian theology. However, Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote that the person who forgets or sneers at beauty “can no longer pray and soon will be unable to love.” Is beauty of vital importance to our understanding of God? The history of Christian thought is full of discussions of the beauty of God and creation, from Augustine’s beauty “ever ancient, ever new” to theologians as diverse as Jonathan Edwards and David Bentley Hart. Moreover, the past century has seen the rise of “theological aesthetics,” a renewed attempt to recover an approach to both knowing God through beauty and investigating earthly beauty in light of divine glory. This course will examine topics such as the beauty of the Triune God, the beauty of the cross, and the beauty of humanity in the image of God by surveying the work of major theologians from across the broad spectrum of the Christian tradition. We will then attempt to bring a “theology of beauty” into conversation with contemporary cultural discussions of beauty and meaning, including issues surrounding art, justice and the human person.