• Frank Burch Brown
Part of the Macmillan Studies in Literature and Religion book series (SLR)


No one could claim that religions have no use for the arts. Even at their most ascetic, moreover, the worlds and ways of religion generally have a side that is distinctly aesthetic, if not always artistic. Pilgrimages, rituals of purification, seasonal observances, myths, prayers, holy groves and mountains, sacred dances and songs, and houses of the gods all have a ‘feel’ or palpable ‘sense’ to them — a shape or rhythm, or texture or aura. Ancient Egyptians even spoke of a special fragrance given off by deities.


Aesthetic Experience Aesthetic Quality Aesthetic Appreciation Aesthetic Theory Aesthetic Object 
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  1. 1.
    Hal Foster, ‘Postmodernism: A Preface’, in The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture, ed. Hal Foster (Port Townsend, Wash.: Bay Press, 1983).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    David Carroll, Paraesthetics (London: Methuen, 1987) pp. xiv, xv.Google Scholar
  3. See also Christopher Norris, Paul de Man: Deconstruction and the Critique of Aesthetic Ideology (London: Routledge, 1988).Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Janet Wolff, Aesthetics and the Sociology of Art (London: Allen & Unwin, 1983) p. 107.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    See Jacques Derrida, ‘Parergon’, in The Truth in Painting, trans. Geoff Bennington and Ian McLeod (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, 1960; trans. G. Barden and J. Cumming (New York: Continuum, 1975).Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    See Martin Heidegger, ‘The Origin of the Work of Art’, in Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstadter (New York: Harper & Row, 1971).Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    See Roland Barthes, The Rustle of Language, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Hill & Wang, 1986) pp. 76–7;Google Scholar
  9. Barthes, Image, Music, Text, trans. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill & Wang, 1977) pp. 179–89;Google Scholar
  10. and Julia Kristeva, Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art, ed. Leon Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980) p. 133.Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    Both of these kinds of concern are expressed, for example, by Sallie McFague in Models of God: Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987).Google Scholar
  12. 9.
    Cf. Giles Gunn, The Culture of Criticism and the Criticism of Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987).Google Scholar

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© Frank Burch Brown 1990

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  • Frank Burch Brown

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