Harvard Divinity School

Spiritual Paths to Abstract Art

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021
Approaching 20th-century abstract art through the lens of religious studies, this course explores alternatives to twentieth-century narratives of modern art centered on the existential crisis of a heroic-- usually male, Caucasian and secular—individual.  In contrast, we will center paths to abstraction in which a departure from or repurposing of the figure emanates from spiritual sources not usually associated with modernity.  Locating the artists’ work within their biographies and their communities, the course focuses on abstraction as a vehicle for delving intersections of spirituality with history, race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality.... Read more about Spiritual Paths to Abstract Art

Mystical Theology

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021
This course will examine the history of mystical theology in early and medieval Christianity. Through a close reading of primary texts in translation we will explore the practices through which the mystical life is pursued; the interplay of affirmation (kataphasis) and negation (apophasis) in language and images surrounding mystical reading, prayer, and meditation; varying conceptions of mystical union and annihilation; and the role of gender and what we might call sexuality within texts about the mystical life. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 1448.... Read more about Mystical Theology