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Fall 2012/Pasadena

TC581: WORSHIP, THEOLOGY, AND THE ARTS TOUCHSTONE. Todd E. Johnson & Kutter Callaway.

DESCRIPTION: This course is the introductory course for all students entering Worship, Theology, and the Arts (WTA) concentrations at the master's level. This course introduces the students in the WTA concentration to the methodology that will undergird their theological study of Christian worship, along with narrative, performing, and plastic arts. Beginning with Augustine's philosophy of language and learning as introduced and developed in De Magistro and De Doctrina Christiana, and his assertion that all we have to communicate with are signs, words, and gestures, this course will explore methods of exegeting signs and gestures to supplement the exegesis of words. The course will be divided into modules, each one focusing on the application of this method to Christian worship and two art forms. One module will also focus on the topic of the Brehm Lectures, which the students will be required to attend.

SIGNIFICANCE FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY: St. Francis of Assisi famously stated that one should proclaim the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words. This course will introduce the student to ministry resources that are nonverbal and can be seen as complementary to verbal proclamation of the gospel. In a world that is becoming increasingly comfortable with symbolic and artistic communication, this course invites the student to consider the various ways the gospel can be proclaimed in symbolic and artistic ways, and the strengths and limits of these forms of communication.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: A student successfully completing this course will (1) articulate the application of Augustine's theory of communication to worship and the arts; (2) describe in general terms the history and theology of the arts in relation to the Christian faith; (3) describe in general terms the history and theology of Christian worship in relation to the arts; (4) apply the hermeneutic model of interpretation to worship and the arts in a cursory way; (5) complete an in-depth application of this hermeneutic model to one particular artistic expression or element of Christian worship.

COURSE FORMAT: The class will meet weekly for three-hour sessions. It will have some lectures by the professor, discussions of course material, and interaction and reflection on the experience of various art forms. Students will be expected to attend the events surrounding the Brehm Lectures in their entirety and go on field trips with the class during class time (and possibly outside of class) to have common experience of various art forms.


Course Reader. 400 pp.

Garcia-Rivera, Alejandro. A Wounded Innocence: Sketches for a Theology of Art. Liturgical Press, 2003. 150pp. ISBN: 9780814651124. Pub.price: $14.95.

Edmonds, Ben. Marvin Gaye: What's Going On and the Last Days of the Motown Sound. Cannongate, 2001. 160pp.

Falsani, Cathleen. The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009. 240 pp. ISBN: 9780310292468. Pub price $14.99.

Levy, Sandra. Imagination and the Journey of Faith. Eerdmans, 2008. 100pp. ISBN: 9780802863010. Pub.price: $18.00.

Muir, Edward. Ritual in Early Modern Europe. 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, 2005. 300pp. ISBN: 9780521602402. Pub. price: $32.99.

Gaye, Marvin. What's Going On. Motown Records, 1971. 35 minutes.

Coen, Joel, and Ethan Coen, directors. True Grit. Paramount Pictures 2010. 110 minutes.

ASSIGNMENTS AND ASSESSMENT: (1) Completion of assigned readings, reflection papers on readings, participation in our class discussions and attendance (20%). (2) Short synthesis papers, assessing various class experiences from the perspective of course readings and lectures (20%). (3) A final project approved by one of the professors in which the student demonstrates his or her knowledge of the methods introduced in the class by applying them to a specific art form or forms (60%).


RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: Required for all Worship, Theology, and the Arts (WTA) master's level concentrations.

This ECD is a reliable guide to the course design but is subject to modification. (July 2012)