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Beholding the Glory

Incarnation through the Arts

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"This is a compulsive read, richly rewarding, which made me realize the enormous importance of doing theology through the arts."--Susan Howatch, author of the Starbride series

Although the arts have played a significant role in both world history and Christian history, the contemporary church has often shunned them in favor of a more intellectual approach to theology. Beholding the Glory argues the necessity of renewing an engagement between theology and the arts. Specifically focusing on the incarnation, the book shows how the arts have an indispensable role to play in disclosing God's wisdom.

With an introduction by the editor, the book consists of eight essays written by practicing artists (a sculptor, poet, dancer, and musician), theologians, and professors--all well-versed in the relationship between imagination and theology.

Beholding the Glory would be an appropriate text for humanities courses as well as theological courses that stress a multifaceted approach to Christian doctrine.


"Here is a spendid contribution to a white-hot theological topic: the relationship between theology and the arts. In this book, a multi-faceted illumination is achieved by the distinguished contributors, who shine their spotlights not only on God's truth as revealed in Jesus Christ, but upon the dynamic creativity of artists as they explore this truth in so many striking and stimulating ways. This is a compulsive read, richly rewarding, which made me realize the enormous importance of doing theology through the arts."--Susan Howatch

"Artists do theology with their feet and their hands, even with their eyes and ears. These essays are beautiful reflections on these other ways of doing theology. They will benefit everyone who love the arts and seek to follow Christ, especially perhaps those who 'study' theology primarily with their minds! Should be required reading for anyone who wants to deepen their "insight" into the incarnation!"--William A. Dyrness, professor of theology and culture, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Jeremy Begbie and his team engage with two lively intensities, incarnation and the arts, and give a fresh sense of each. They are immersed in the realities they are dealing with, they write without jargon and use plenty of vivid examples. This book can be savoured by those who are already involved, but will also draw others into both God and the arts. There is something exhilarating about the way thinking and imagining are inspired by one art after another, and time and again there emerges a Christian understanding that can challenge as well as enrich both the churches and our arts-saturated culture. It is vital too that popular culture is taken seriously."--David F. Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity, Cambridge University

"These wide-ranging essays offer a lively corrective to common ways of thinking about the arts. Instead of defining art by means of theology, the authors in Beholding the Glory confidently explore theology through the arts, paying close attention to art's unique engagement with scripture, tradition, and human experience. These essays stress specifically that the Christian faith has at its center the Incarnation, the story of the word made flesh. And for understanding the staggering claim that God has dwelt among us in human form, poetry, sculpture, dance, and the other arts offer irreplaceable insights."--Roger Lundin, Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English, Wheaton College

"A fine collection of probing and imaginative discussions of the relation between the Incarnation and the arts. It's like a kaleidoscope: one turns the page to a new chapter and yet a different view appears."--Nicholas Wolterstorff, Yale Divinity School

The Author

  1. Jeremy S. Begbie

    Jeremy S. Begbie

    Jeremy S. Begbie (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is Thomas A. Langford Distinguished Research Professor of Theology and McDonald Agape Director of Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. He served as...

    Continue reading about Jeremy S. Begbie


"This anthology adds to the rich contribution Begbie is making in the field of the arts and Christian faith. . . . Readers will find many superb articulations of art and divine nature, as well as provocative insights demanding further thought. A helpful read for artists and laypersons who love the arts. A must read for pastors and theologians hungry for the full richness of the incarnation and sensitive to the full nature of culture as expressive of the human condition and God's presence."--Wayne Roosa, Religious Studies Review

"The essays, though varied in voice and style as well as focus, work elegantly and persuasively together to explore a rich variety of ways in which the arts may deepen Christian spirituality, enrich theological understanding, and enhance communal worship. The book is a thoughtful and timely addition to a growing number of contemporary efforts to reclaim a high place for the arts in the life of faith."--The Princeton Seminary Bulletin

"This book assumes the role of bridge builder between theology and the arts, and points the way to undiscovered country on both sides. As such it is very useful; many of the essays in the book are provocative and authoritative. For those who take it as their task to ground a view of the arts in a clear biblical worldview, there is much of merit to recommend."-Pro Rege