A Natural Theology of the Arts contends that the arts are theological by their very nature and not simply when they are explicitly religious - thereby constituting a distinctive kind of 'natural theology'. Borrowing from science the stance of 'critical realism' to justify truth claims in art and theology, it argues that works of art are complex metaphors that convey the 'real presence' of God, even when not labelled as such. Citing numerous examples from literature, painting, and music - including Shakespeare's King Lear, Vermeer's Young Woman with a Water Jug, Rembrandt's Return of the Prodigal Son, and Stephen Cleobury's experiences performing Bach's St Matthew Passion and Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb - the author concludes that works of art anticipate the new creation, thereby suggesting a Trinitarian account of the God present in the creation and reception of such works.
Anthony Monti, The Newark School of Theology, and Ramapo College and Rockland Community College, USA
Contents: Foreword by the Rev Dr John Polkinghorne, KBE, FRS; Preface; Addressing the crisis in the humanities; The epistemology of critical realism; Natural theology and the metaphysic of flexible openness; Natural theology, metaphor, and art; Rumours of 'real presences' reconsidered; Art as natural theology: An eschatological and trinitarian understanding; Epilogue: A question of taste; Works cited; Index.