By Michael P. Murphy
A couple of critics and students argue for the thought of a rather Catholic number of mind's eye, now not as a question of doctrine or perhaps of trust, yet particularly as an inventive sensibility. They determine the combination of highbrow, emotional, religious and moral assumptions that continue from Catholic trust constitutes a imaginative and prescient of truth that inevitably informs the artist's creative expression. The inspiration of a Catholic mind's eye, even though, has lacked thematic and theological coherence. To articulate this instinct is to go the tricky interdisciplinary borders among theology and literature; and, even supposing students have built worthy tools for project such interdisciplinary ''border-crossings,'' particularly few were dedicated to a significant exam of the theological aesthetic upon which those different aesthetics may hinge. In A Theology of Criticism, Michael Patrick Murphy proposes a brand new framework to raised outline the idea that of a Catholic mind's eye. He explores the various ways that the theological paintings of Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) delivers the version, content material, and optic for distinguishing this sort of mind's eye from others. because Balthasar perspectives artwork and literature accurately as theologies, Murphy surveys a vast array of poetry, drama, fiction, and movie and units it opposed to primary points of Balthasar's theological software. In doing so, Murphy seeks to enhance a theology of feedback. This interdisciplinary paintings recovers the valid position of a different ''theological imagination'' in serious concept, exhibiting that Balthasar's voice either demanding situations and enhances modern advancements. Murphy additionally contends that postmodern interpretive technique, with its cautious critique of entrenched philosophical assumptions and reiterated codes of that means, isn't the hazard to theological which means that many worry. to the contrary, by way of juxtaposing postmodern serious methodologies opposed to Balthasar's visionary theological variety, an area is made to be had for literary critics and theologians alike. extra vital, the critic is supplied with the instruments to evaluate, problem, and have fun the theological mind's eye because it is depicted at the present time.
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Extra resources for A Theology of Criticism: Balthasar, Postmodernism, and the Catholic Imagination
Even our critical observation of the ﬁgurative gallery-goer is itself a kind of remove, a watching of the watcher of beauty, an apparition par excellence of the alienation between ‘‘art’’ and its organic roots, its grounding in the artist and the community. In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words, ‘‘if eyes were made for seeing, then Beauty has its own excuse for being,’’ and we need to be very careful when we speak of beauty and endeavor to make beautiful things. If Nadine Gordimer is on to something when she says, ‘‘truth isn’t always beauty, but the hunger for it is,’’ we need to be mindful that beauty touches the very heart of our desire, the very heart of what it means to be uniquely human.
The ﬁrst is the foundation of and participation in the secular institute of the Community of St. John ( Johannesgemeinschaft)—an institute he founded with Adrienne von Speyr but without the endorsement of Balthasar’s Jesuit superiors or the local bishop, an acutely important circumstance that helped shape the middle third of his life. The Community of St. John became important for many other reasons as well: it fulﬁlled Balthasar’s need for community (especially after he dispensed his vows as a Jesuit); as a publishing house ( Johannes Verlag), it gave Balthasar a venue in which to contribute intellectually at a critical point in the century for Catholic discourse; and it insightfully anticipated (and modeled) today’s need for productive lay/clerical partnership.
By the early seventies, Balthasar seemed to come in, as it were, from the cold. His great trilogy was in full swing (it would be ﬁnished in 1985, with epilogues to follow in 1987–1988), and he was ﬁnally serving the church more formally, more expansively, and more publicly. In 1972, Balthasar, along with a number of his colleagues and friends, founded the international cultural and theological review Communio, which now exists in the form of at least ﬁfteen distinct and semiautonomous editions in different languages around the world.