Spirituality and the Arts

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During this course we will be looking at how Christian spirituality relates to the arts – literature, music and visual arts, including film. We will consider this relationship in the socio-historical and theological contexts in which it has developed, exploring differences and similarities between the Eastern and Western Christian perspectives. This will enable students to appreciate the place of the arts in Christian worship and the life of the Church. Students will engage with theological ideas underpinning ekphrasis, images and icons, the relationship between literature and spirituality as academic disciplines, reflect critically on relationship between theoretical approaches to film, aesthetics, music and spiritual awareness, and examine contemporary phenomenological thinking on the ways in which the arts create access points to the transcendent and spiritual.

Monday’s – 4.30 pm – 7.00 pm for for five weeks: 15 January, 22 January, 29 January, 5 February, 12 February

Course leader: Dr Pavlina Kasparova

Topics covered in 5-week course:

Week 1: Introduction: Approaching Spirituality and the Arts

o Aesthetic Spiritual Awareness and Attitudes towards the Arts in Worship East and West

Week 2: Texts of/for Worship

o Modern and Postmodern Literature and Poetry as ‘New Psalms’

o Is Kenye West a Prophet?

Week 3: Visual arts and spiritual experiences

o Approaches to Images East and West (Mosaics, Icons, Murals) – comparative studies.

Week 4: Can Film be Spiritual?

o This session will include a discussion on films directed by Stanley Kubrick, Milos Forman and Andrei Tarkovsky (other names might be negotiated).

Week 5: The Arts and Transcendence

o Perspectives from Phenomenology and Theology.

o Spirituality as an Academic Discipline.

This is an Online course, all sessions will be recorded. These and the course material and reading can be accessed via a portal.

For more information please contact Adele: aa2451@mbit.cam.ac.uk

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