Contemporary culture is rediscovering the importance of beauty for both social transformation and personal happiness. Theologians have sought, in their varied ways, to demonstrate how God's beauty is associated with notions of truth and goodness. This book breaks new ground by suggesting that liturgy is the means par excellence by which an experience of beauty is communicated. Drawing from both secular and religious understandings, in particular the mystical and apophatic tradition, the book demonstrates how liturgy has the potential to achieve the one ultimately reliable form of beauty because its embodied components are able to reflect the disturbing beauty of the One to whom worship is always offered. Such components rely on understanding the aesthetic dynamics upon which liturgy relies. This book draws from a broad range of disciplines concerned with understanding beauty and self-transformation and concludes that while secular utopian forms have much to contribute to ethical transformation, they ultimately fail since they lack the Christological and eschatological framework needed, which liturgy alone provides.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; The movement of return; The movement of interiority; The movement in the image; The movement of desire; The movement towards silent mystery; The movement of aesthetics; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
’The book is well researched and engages extensively with existing literature, both religious and secular, and the historical material that is included is very helpful in placing the argument in wider context. This is a book that does have a very precise argument which is consistently forwarded and expresses the author's own hopes for the future of Roman Catholic liturgy in particular. Its potential application is, however, a good deal wider.’ Theological Book Review ’... this patiently documented and dispassionately argued book... opens up possibilities for forms of worship that would enhance our sense of the beauty of creation in the light of a glimpse of the beauty of that ’other place’, and which are currently almost unimaginable.’ Usus Antiquior