Archives For Daniel Siedell


The Wake Up CallThe Wake Up Call –
28 February 2013

Like the smell of strong coffee wafting down the hall, we offer a few book-related thoughts and stories to jumpstart your day…


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“Make your educational laws strict and your criminal ones can be gentle; but if you leave youth its liberty you will have to dig dungeons for ages.”  – Michel de Montaigne, born on this day in 1533


“We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.”  – Novelist, Henry James, who died on this day in 1916
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Thanks be to God for this new day, may it be full of beauty and grace!

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As I was writing my review of Bruno Latour’s On The Modern Cult of the Factish Gods, I was reminded several times along the way of art critic Daniel Siedell‘s excellent book God in the Gallery (one of our Englewood Honor Books for 2008… read our review.)  I instinctively did a quick search online search to see what Daniel was up to these days and uncovered this excellent video of him speaking recently at Biola… Enjoy!


“Embodying Transcendence”

A Review of
God in the Gallery:
A Christian Embrace of Modern Art.

by Daniel Siedell.


By Brent Aldrich.

God in the Gallery:
A Christian Embrace of Modern Art.

Daniel Siedell.

Paperback. Baker Academic, 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $20] [ Amazon ]

First of all, to title a book of this complexity God in the Gallery is much too narrow; the encompassing image of a “transformed vision” that Daniel Siedell describes in this book points to an ecumenical engagement of the church, that is rooted in the liturgy, to form an “expansive aesthetics” (138) as a basis of living in “a world saturated with sacramental…significance” (91). What he narrates throughout is a fundamental way of living that is incarnational, that sees the kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven; art may perhaps be described as an embodiment of this reality, creating a focused artifact of contemplation and communion. For the church, the vocation is to daily embody this reality of incarnation and resurrection, of the hope of reconciliation in the world. Siedell argues that much or modern and postmodern art has likewise been “a witness to both our fallen world and hope for its redemption” (29). The dialogue that opens up from this correlation is expansive in both directions, urging the church to draw from an “economy of the icon” in which “the primary goal is to seek communion with God” (29) as a model to look to contemporary art practices, as well as suggesting how the “church’s spiritual practices and disciplines…can underwrite and sustain aesthetic practice” (148). In both directions, though, it is the “church’s aesthetics that underwrite aesthetics in the larger culture” in a way that “expands the aesthetic potential” (138).

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David Fitch Reviews Andy Crouch’s Culture-making

As some might know, I have a complaint concerning the way evangelicals engage culture. The way we engage culture is either to reject it all or embrace it all. Our culture habits, I contend, have been formed under a 50 year Niebuhrian hangover where we view culture in singular unilateral terms. To compound the problem, we regularly make Jesus Christ into a principle to be translated (or not) into it (instead of concretely embodying his way into the world). This is the influence of Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture.

Culture is more complex, multiple and diverse than that. It is ubiquitous as well. It cannot be escaped. And Jesus the Christ is not a principle but an historic incarnation of the second person of the Godhead. God began his work in the world (Missio Dei) by actually entering into the world for the reconciliation of the whole world to Himself. To be His people, is to engage the world in all its complexity for the incarnation of the gospel via the formation of a people. This people, is a cultural expression of the Holy Spirit as an extension of God’s Missio begun in the sending of the Son.

Read the full review:

Culture-Making:Recovering Our Creative Calling
Andy Crouch
Hardcover: IVP, 2008
Buy now [ Doulos Christou Books $16 ] [ Amazon ]

Dan Smith has engaged in a Chapter-by-Chapter
Conversation with ELECTING NOT TO VOTE

Ted Lewis, ed.
Paperback: Wipf and Stock, 2008
Buy now [ Doulos Christou Books $17 ] [ Amazon ]

FIRST THINGS reviews Daniel Siedell’s

In a recent book assessing the state of evangelical scholarship, Mark Noll refers to “a boomlet in evangelical art history [that] rests squarely on the work of the Dutch Reformed scholar Hans Rookmaaker.” Had Noll seen Daniel Siedell’s book God in the Gallery, he might have thought differently. Siedell is a long way from Rookmaaker, and his book—whether or not it can be called evangelical—is no boomlet. God in the Gallery is an impressive detonation in and of itself.

The Christianity-and-art conversation is gridlocked. The stalled traffic includes those who are profoundly suspicious of the art world, and those who are infuriated enough by this unforgivably “conservative” suspicion that they, in turn, write contemporary artists a theological blank check. A book capable of broaching this impasse has long needed to be written—but who would have suspected it would be this good? What makes God in the Gallery noteworthy is that it addresses another gridlock as well, that of contemporary art. The traffic in this case involves those liberated by the end of modernity to explore spiritual directions, and those committed to keeping art a staunchly secular enterprise. “The art world,” insists Siedell, “is growing increasingly uncomfortable with its collective unbelief.”

Siedell’s qualifications enable him to address both these dilemmas. He is a firmly ecclesial Lutheran with deep—one might say overriding—sympathies for the Orthodox Church. In addition, Siedell holds a Ph.D. in contemporary art (he studied with noted critic Donald Kuspit), and he is a seasoned curator with a decade of gallery experience.

Read the full review:


Daniel Siedell
Paperback: Baker Academic, 2008
Buy now [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ] [ Amazon ]