CONTRIBUTOR: Johnson, Galen [faculty advisor, Department of Philosophy] DATE: 2006 SUBJECT: Theology SUBJECT: Philosophy FORMAT: Microsoft Word document, 10,223,616 bytes 2006 URI Senior Honors Project


Theological Aesthetics; Beauty; God; Church


An empty room with a table at one end and some chairs facing this table hardly sounds like a church. And if a room similar to this were to be used for a church there would doubtless be decorations brought in, altar cloths, candles and a cross or crucifix. It seems to be that the employment of beauty within church services may be more than just a common element of a church service. Through my senior project I plan to come to a better understanding of how and why beauty is used within church services. I plan on looking at different aspects ranging from the ambiance of the service to the prose of the liturgy. Aside from looking at individual aspects of beauty I will also look at how these aspects work together to create one cohesive service. I will also question why these things are used the way they are. I plan to come to a better understanding not only of how these things are used, but also why they are used the way that they are. This part of my project will be more difficult since there is a great divide between how and why something is used. It is my belief that beauty plays such an important role because it not only makes the message more appealing but it also is in harmony with the message itself. In my project I will be looking into books by an array of authors who have written on theology and aesthetics, such as: Richard Kieckhefer who writes about the architecture of churches; John Navone who writes about beauty coming from God and as a path to God; Leanne Van Dyk who writes about the importance and implications of the different aspects of Christian church services; as well as others.