A Peculiar Orthodoxy

Reflections on Theology and the Arts

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World-renowned theologian Jeremy Begbie has been at the forefront of teaching and writing on theology and the arts for more than twenty years. Amid current debates and discussions on the topic, Begbie emphasizes the role of a biblically grounded creedal orthodoxy as he shows how Christian theology and the arts can enrich each other. He explains the importance of critically examining key terms, concepts, and thought patterns commonly employed in theology-arts discourse today, arguing that notions such as "beauty" and "sacrament" are too often adopted uncritically without due attention given to how an orientation to the Triune God's self-disclosure in Christ might lead us to reshape and invest these notions with fresh content. Throughout A Peculiar Orthodoxy, Begbie demonstrates the power of classic trinitarian faith to bring illumination, surprise, and delight whenever it engages with the arts.

1. Created Beauty: The Witness of J. S. Bach
2. Beauty, Sentimentality, and the Arts
3. Faithful Feelings: Music and Emotion in Worship
4. Openness and Specificity: A Conversation with David Brown on Theology and Classical Music
5. Confidence and Anxiety in Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius
6. The Holy Spirit at Work in the Arts: Learning from George Herbert
7. Natural Theology and Music
8. Room of One's Own? Music, Space, and Freedom
9. The Future of Theology amid the Arts: Some Reformed Reflections


"Any work by Jeremy Begbie is bound to bear instruction and delight, and this one is no exception. Thinkers and writers who give equally serious consideration to theology and the arts are rare birds indeed, so it is a pleasure to see Begbie take flight once more."

Alan Jacobs, Honors College, Baylor University

"Orthodoxy, yes, but not at all peculiar--unless it is peculiar for a person so steeped in orthodox trinitarian theology to be so richly acquainted with the arts, or peculiar for a person so richly acquainted with the arts to be so steeped in orthodox trinitarian theology. Only a person as learned and immersed as Begbie in both of these areas of human endeavor could spy the wide range of connections that he brings to light between theology and the arts, especially music, many of them connections I had never noticed, connections that I will want to think about for quite some time. Extraordinarily perceptive. And the range of reading brought into the discussion, with never-failing generosity of spirit, is amazing. This is state of the art!"

Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University; senior research fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia

"Jeremy Begbie sets a high standard for a theological engagement with the arts. In this book, he gives an eloquent account of that standard and formulates questions that anyone working in this field must confront."

Judith Wolfe, professor of philosophical theology, School of Divinity, St. Mary's College, University of St. Andrews

"Jeremy Begbie has long been proclaiming, and exemplifying, how good theology does not constrain artistic practice but sets it free. In this delightful and necessary book, he persuasively reveals that trinitarian thought remains a most attractive dancing partner for serious creative pursuits. As many artists today anxiously scan the dance floor for rival suitors, A Peculiar Orthodoxy will help them fall in love with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for the first time, or all over again."

Matthew J. Milliner, Wheaton College

"Jeremy Begbie has established himself at the forefront of serious Christian engagement with the arts. This selection of pieces bears eloquent witness to the fruitfulness of that engagement and demonstrates how it can be conducted in a way that combines intellectual rigor, constructive theological concern, and elegance of style."

Trevor Hart, University of St. Andrews

"Representing a substantive contribution to theological aesthetics, these essays involve a lively and richly suggestive exposition of the work of the Trinity in and through the arts. Here the reader is invited to encounter the Triune God afresh--and to be inspired with affection for such a God. From start to finish, this book is a feast for the heart and mind."

W. David O. Taylor, Fuller Theological Seminary

The Author

  1. Jeremy S. Begbie

    Jeremy S. Begbie

    Jeremy S. Begbie (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is Thomas A. Langford Research Professor of Theology at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. He previously served as honorary professor of theology at the University of St. Andrews; associate principal...

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