I was recently asked by a friend for some recommendations of theology books on beauty, for a class he will be teaching. I gave him a few suggestions, but I was reminded in the process that there is quite a deep well of books on similar topics, not least of which is Hans Urs von Balthasar’s massive (and massively expensive) 7-volume work, The Glory of the Lord.
So, I offer this introductory list of theology books on beauty, with the realization that these few books will get us started thinking in this direction, but they only scratch the surface.
*** What theology books on beauty would you add to this list?
While interest in the relationship between theology and the arts is on the rise, there are very few resources for students and teachers, let alone a comprehensive text on the subject. This book fills that lacuna by providing an anthology of readings on theological aesthetics drawn from the first century to the present.
A superb sourcebook, Theological Aesthetics brings together original texts that are relevant and timely to scholars today. Editor Gesa Elsbeth Thiessen has taken a careful, inclusive approach to the book, including articles and extracts that are diverse and ecumenical as well as representative of gender and ethnicity. The book is organized chronologically, and each historical period begins with commentary by Thiessen that sets the selections in context.
These engaging readings range broadly over themes at the intersection of religion and the arts, including beauty and revelation, the vision of God, artistic and divine creation, God as artist, images of God, the interplay of the senses and the intellect, human imagination, mystical writings, meanings of signs and symbols, worship, liturgy, doxology, the relationship of word and image, icons and iconoclasm, the role of the arts in twentieth-century theology, and much more.