A Theology of Criticism: Balthasar, Postmodernism, and the by Michael P. Murphy

By Michael P. Murphy

A couple of critics and students argue for the proposal of a particularly Catholic number of mind's eye, now not as a question of doctrine or maybe 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 fact that unavoidably informs the artist's imaginitive expression. The thought of a Catholic mind's eye, in spite of the fact that, has lacked thematic and theological coherence. To articulate this instinct is to move the not easy interdisciplinary borders among theology and literature; and, even if students have built necessary tools for project such interdisciplinary "border-crossings," fairly few were dedicated to a major 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 higher outline the idea that of a Catholic mind's eye. He explores the numerous ways that the theological paintings of Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) offers the version, content material, and optic for distinguishing this sort of mind's eye from others. due to the fact that Balthasar perspectives paintings and literature accurately as theologies, Murphy surveys a extensive array of poetry, drama, fiction, and picture and units it opposed to vital points of Balthasar's theological software. In doing so, Murphy seeks to improve a theology of criticism.

This interdisciplinary paintings recovers the valid position of a special "theological mind's eye" in serious thought, displaying that Balthasar's voice either demanding situations and enhances modern advancements. Murphy additionally contends that postmodern interpretive method, with its cautious critique of entrenched philosophical assumptions and reiterated codes of which means, isn't the chance to theological which means that many worry. to the contrary, by way of juxtaposing postmodern serious methodologies opposed to Balthasar's visionary theological diversity, an area is made to be had for literary critics and theologians alike. extra very important, the critic is supplied with the instruments to evaluate, problem, and have a good time the theological mind's eye because it is depicted today.

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Extra info for A Theology of Criticism: Balthasar, Postmodernism, and the Catholic Imagination (AAR Academy Series)

Sample text

Is analogous to the plurality of voices that exist in any good narrative and illuminate the dramatic structure inherent in being. Ignatius’s emphasis on sacramentality, furthermore—that is, on the dynamic relationship among physical context, imagination, and faith—spoke persuasively to the young Balthasar and significantly influenced his theology. Also, the Ignatian emphasis on the centrality (and variety) of Christian form, on what Ignatius contemplated as ‘‘the mental representation of the place,’’ the locale where we ‘‘see the great extent of the surface of the earth, inhabited by so many different peoples.

First, as aristocratic and cultivated as Balthasar was, he was the kind of Jesuit who identified with Ignatius in the saint’s more ascetic modulations. These ‘‘at once more missionary and more interior’’6 tendencies, it can be argued, ultimately prepared Balthasar for his traumatic break with the Jesuits in 1950. Second, Balthasar was able to teach young Catholics who lived in a more (theologically) pluralistic environment than Rome or Paris, which sharpened Balthasar’s ecumenical sense. He was a renowned retreat master (leading over fifty of them in his years as student chaplain), and his sermons were broadcasted on the radio.

The knower] understands that things ‘signify’; they do it so intensely that one simply should not ask what they signify. 22 In my view, postmodernism’s diminishment of the ‘‘transcendental signified’’ has been a negative development and thrown otherwise well-intentioned critics off the scent. In this sense I develop a discussion of how Balthasar’s thought offers practical ways in which meaning (and transmission of the meaningful) can be retrieved and reconciled and suggest options for postmodern critics who have finally become exhausted by deconstructing music videos or by writing about the other ephemera of pop culture.

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