The Future of Christian Art

Apr 7, 2022
Social Sciences 201
1126 E 59th St
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Stephen Fields, SJGeorgetown University


Due to circumstances outside our control, this event has been canceled. We hope to schedule events with Fr. Fields in future quarters.


In this talk, Fr. Stephen Fields, S.J. will argue that "modernity" is demanding that we Christians must reconceive the meaning of "beauty," if we are to continue preaching the Gospel effectively. He will discuss the nature of beauty in general and Christian beauty in particular. He will explain how modernity is set apart from previous periods of the Western experience, especially the Baroque. His argument will be influenced by the strikingly novel thought of Hans Urs von Balthasar, a contemporary Swiss Catholic, and will be illustrated through examination of several notable pieces, including Pozzo's "trompe l'oeil" ceiling of St Ignatius Church in Rome, Gruenewald's Isenheim altarpiece, and Rouault's "Face of Christ."

Stephen Fields, S.J. is Hackett Family Professor of Theology at Georgetown University, where he has taught since 1993. A Jesuit priest and scholar, he holds a PhD from Yale in the philosophy of religion and an STL in fundamental theology from the Weston School of Theology (now the School of Theology and Ministry, Boston College). He has written Being As Symbol: On the Origins and Development of Karl Rahner’s Metaphysics (2001) and Analogies of Transcendence: An Essay on Nature, Grace and Modernity (2016).  Recently he edited a volume of essays on the thought of Benedict XVI (Nova et Vetera, August 2017).  His scholarly articles treat such topics as Hans Urs von Balthasar, John Henry Newman, transcendental Thomism, and the Trinity, as well as Catholicism’s relation to liberalism, to ‘postmodernism,’ and to the contemporary university. He has been a long-time friend and collaborator of the Lumen Christi Institute. His undergraduate students elected him as the twelfth recipient of the Dorothy M. Brown Award for excellence in teaching. He now directs the Lumen Christi Institute’s annual summer seminar for graduate students on John Henry Newman.