Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Reformed Imagination

I've just finished reading William Dyrness's excellent book Reformed Theology and Visual Culture: The Protestant Imagination from Calvin to Edwards. Dyrness, himself a reformed scholar, discusses many of the reasons why his tradition has found it difficult to articulate a theology of imagination. On page 304 he observes that "A second tendency in the developing Reformed imagination has been the encouragement to look within oneself to discover and reflect on the presence of God. Since the external forms of piety were forbidden, believers, raised on the catechism and exposed to the weekly preaching of Scripture, inevitably turned inward to shape their images of God. It is one of the ironies that we have traced, that in rejecting the visual mediation of spiritual power prominent in the Middle Ages - in turning away from the great imaginative works of earlier artists - the Protestants were forced to develop their own 'imaginations' as the template within which the new spiritual world was to be constructed and perceived."

For more on this topic, read my article, 'A Critical Absence of the Divine: How a ‘Zero-Sum’ Theology Destroys Sacred Space.'
Post a Comment

Buy Essential Oils at Discounted Prices!