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By Steven R. Guthrie / Baker Academic / 2011
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Art is often viewed as being inherently spiritual. But what does it mean to describe an experience of art or beauty as spiritual? Is there a relationship between the spiritual experience a person has in the presence of a work of art and the Holy Spirit of Christian faith?
Theologian, musician, and educator Steven Guthrie examines particular areas of overlap between spirituality, human creativity, and the arts with the goal of sharpening and refining how we speak and think about the Holy Spirit. Through his exploration of the many different connections between art and spirituality, Guthrie uses the arts as a creative lens for exploring the Holy Spirit and offers a unique introduction to pneumatology. He also introduces an important idea from the early church that is now unfamiliar to many Christians: the Holy Spirit is the humanizing Spirit, whose work is to remake our humanity after the image of the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ.
This clear, engaging theology of the arts will be of interest to professors and students in theology and the arts, pneumatology, and systematic theology courses as well as thoughtful lay readers, Christian artists, worship leaders, and pastors.
Essential for students, scholars, pastors, and laypeople, this informative volume brings fresh perspectives on theological matters. With the Logos Bible Software edition, searching by topic or Scripture references will further help your understanding—you’ll compare, for example, the systematic theologies of various scholars or denominations.
This book participates in a growing movement interested in the intersection of art, faith, and spirituality. But this book also stands out as a leading voice in this field because of its breadth of vision for the sources and functions of the arts in human life and because of the specificity and clarity of its theological convictions about the work of the Holy Spirit and the expansive nature of salvation offered in and through Jesus Christ. The book’s particular interest in Athanasius is especially welcome, inviting all of us to sharpen and deepen our theological vision and to wrestle with the astonishing implications of the incarnation for human flourishing.
—John D. Witvliet, director, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary
Creator Spirit is a brilliant book! Steven Guthrie makes nuances exceedingly accurately, so that his readers are able to distinguish various ideas in Christianity (such as ‘mortification’ and ‘beauty’) from their mistaken use in historical and postmodern philosophies about the arts. Guthrie consequently frees us to recognize more clearly and biblically the labors of diverse artists and the liberating presence of the Holy Spirit. You will devour this volume, and it will increase your faith!
—Marva J. Dawn, teaching fellow in spiritual theology, Regent College, Vancouver, BC
Creator Spirit brings the Holy Spirit and art together into the creative center of human life. Guthrie shows how the Holy Spirit and art illumine each other and, together, create spaces where God is glorified and we are allowed to become what God intended. This is one of the best treatments of the Holy Spirit’s activity in culture.
—William Dyrness, professor of theology and culture, Fuller Theological Seminary
Guthrie compellingly engages what may be the most profound, yet often the most trivialized, dimension of theological aesthetics. The result is a rich, reflective, and learned work that artists and theologians alike have been hoping for.
—Robin Jensen, Luce Chancellor’s Professor of the History of Christian Art and Worship, Vanderbilt University
Steven R. Guthrie received his PhD from the University of St. Andrews. He teaches religion at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he helped launch a new program in religion and the arts. He previously taught at the University of St. Andrews and was on the faculty of the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts. Guthrie contributed to the Encyclopedia of Christianity, coedited Resonant Witness with Jeremy Begbie, and is the author of numerous articles.