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Bridge to Wonder
Art as a Gospel of Beauty
It is often difficult to describe beauty or even justify attempts to experience something beautiful. Yet if artists—whether painters or poets, actors or musicians, architects or sculptors—teach us anything, it is that the pursuit of beauty is a common feature among all humanity. As Cecilia González-Andrieu contends, these varied experiences with artistic beauty are embedded with revelatory and prophetic power that not only affects a single individual but allows for communal formation. Named one ofAmerica magazine’s most promising young theologians, González-Andrieu seeks to engage art in order to reveal its religious significance. Bridge to Wonder proposes a method of theological aesthetics allowing readers to mine the depths of creative beauty to discover variegated theological truths that enable greater communion with each other and the One source of all that is beautiful.
2 This Book Is Not about Art
3 In Search of Wonder
4 Seeing (as) Salvation, the Hope of Art and Religion
5 Beautiful Differences
6 Beyond Boundaries and Unknowable Otherness
7 The Impossible Definition
8 Beauty in Turmoil
9 The Bridge to Wonder Is Ours to Build
10 Glimpses and Destellos
"Noteworthy and full of insights, Bridge to Wonder is a recommendation for anyone interested in theological aesthetics, US Latino theology and creative ministry."
—JinHyok Kim, Heythrop College, University of London, Theological Book Review
"Cecilia González-Andrieu's stunning Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty is an antidote to the wars of aesthetics, embroiling liturgists. It is simultaneously a prophetic challenge to those who seek in beauty a way to cover over the horrors of injustice."
—Church Life: A Journal for the New Evangelization (Spring 2012)
"González-Andrieu's passionately expressed desire is that hearts as well as eyes be opened to the love-inspiring and transformative power of beauty, which is both eternal and earthly, intended and accidental, and often found in the most unexpected places. The divine gift of vision is the beginning of redemption."
—Robin Jensen, Luce Chancellor's Professor of the History of Christian Art and Worship, Vanderbilt University
“… the particular perspectives she brings to the interlacing of theological aesthetics are a vibrant and stimulating demonstration of the value and beauty inherent in the attempt to hold art and the religious together. “
—Jonathan Evens, The Journal of Theological Studies (2013)
“… this book will be a welcome addition to courses that deal with theology or religion and the arts and, of course, theological aesthetics.”
—Eileen D. Crowley, Catholic Theology Union, Journal of Hispanic / Latin Theology
"Bridge to Wonder provides a marvelously inviting network of ways to span the often artificially constructed spaces between beauty (in visual arts especially) and life as envisioned through the Gospel. Not many can assert strong, indeed prophetic, views with such genuine charity as González-Andrieu. She is an inspiring guide, gifted at finding and creating artistic 'interlacings' where others might simply become tangled up in matters of academic definition or religious dogma."
—Frank Burch Brown, editor of The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts and author of Religious Aesthetics and Good Taste, Bad Taste, and Christian Taste: Aesthetics in Religious Life
"Bridge to Wonder is elegant in its simplicity, communal in character, spiritual in its reach, and profound in its implications. González-Andrieu offers a method for engaging the arts and the religious that will become a standard in the field, while also moving the hearts of its readers."
—Robert K. Johnston, Professor of Theology and Culture, Fuller Theological Seminary and author of Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue
"The author shows deep theological insight in her critiques of various artworks.... Her ability to find theological meaning in not just the works themselves but in the public's reactions to them is quite profound.... She shows deep insight into the artworks she considers, and her ability to work with a wide variety of sources to glean theological meanings and purposes for art.... Bridge to Wonder ably demonstrates González-Andrieu's potential to build such bridges in the future."
—Englewood Review of Books
"Deeply rooted in the author's own cultural experience of displacement, Bridge to Wonder is a remarkable example of theology and the sense of redemption found in the beauty of drama, literature, and art. Subtle and learned, it is yet moving and accessible, a timely reminder that the beauty which we know in the world is the best reminder that we are on the right path to God."
—David Jasper, Professor of Literature and Theology, University of Glasgow
"A Bridge to Wonder displays a profound sensitivity and subtle awareness of the promise and perils facing a rapprochement of art and the Christian faith. Such a heartfelt, informed and rich discussion by one of the most promising young Catholic theologians of our generation is to be welcomed for its fresh, compelling vision of how to transverse what continues to be a daunting chasm separating art and the Christian faith.”
—Robert Covolo, Visual Faith Institute of Art and Architecture, The Pneuma Review
Cecilia González-Andrieu is Associate Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University where she specializes in theological aesthetics, U.S. Latino theology, and systematic theology. She has written for several publications and received the Best Column Award from the Catholic Press Association for her column, “De Todo Un Poco,” in The Tidings.
16 color image signature, 4 b/w illustrations