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Title: The call of beauty across faiths : a Christian theological engagement with Japanese art
Author: Gartside, Philip Oswin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2732 1840
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis explores the significance for Christians of the attractiveness of Japanese art, seeking to be true both to its distinctive religio-aesthetic milieu and to Christian believing. Its concern is for faithful,open hearted living in a plural world. Recognising in the trust which the beauty of the art evokes the operation of the Holy Spirit in redemption,it asks how we may hold together the person of Jesus Christ and the diverse meanings of the faiths. In answer it understands, from our life in God as ever extending& and necessarily hidden from us, a plenitude of meaning. Drawing on Ben Quash’s presentation of Christian living as enhanced theo dramatics of unframed reading of events with Christ, it offers a practice of juxtaposition. Examples are given from rock gardens, nō stage and shrine mandalas. More than dialectics, this is creative poiesis, illustrated by framing the metaphor ‘Christ is ma, where ma is that space marked by trace figuring emptiness, seen in these Japanese arts. The metaphor opens our eyes to evanescence, suchness and nothingness, and the faiths they articulate, as held by God within a field of loving trust. Such practice is dynamic and moral; ways are suggested in which it extends perspective, including in Christian performance of mission, dialogue and inculturation. Hence the thesis argues for the continuing importance of experience of difference. This is understood by means of Mutō Kazuo’s Field of the Inversion of Polarities under the mediating sign of Christ crucified and risen. Difference ultimately derives from and speaks of the dissimilitude between the Persons of the Trinity, origin of God’s ever greater nature as love. The gap of meaning between incommensurate but compelling faiths is to be received as space given by God for growth in love, participant in the loving relations of the Persons of the Holy Trinity.
Supervisor: McFadyen, A. I. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available