Theology, Modernity, and the Arts

The aims of this project are to demonstrate:

(1) the ways in which the arts can bear their own kind of witness to the theological dynamics that have shaped and characterized modernity, especially with respect to modern culture's ambivalent relation to the Christian God.

(2) the ways in which the arts can point to ways of addressing and moving beyond some of the intractable theological dilemmas which modernity has bequeathed to us

and in so doing,

(3) the ways in which the arts can respond constructively to the challenges of modernity by informing and enriching both the practices and discourses of the arts, and the practices and discourses of Christian theology.

This initaitive is the second phase of a colloboration between Duke and Cambridge University.  The first phase culminated in the April 2014 performance of James MacMillan's St Luke Passion a piece jointly commissioned by Duke Divinity School.

This second phase will be launched during Holy Week of 2015 with a week of meetings and public events at King's College in Cambridge, England.  The events will include an exhibition of paintings by Mako Fujimura and Bruce Herman (shown at Duke in 2013), two lectures by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on the arts and modernity, a performance by Begbie and pianist Cordelia Williams of Messiaen's Visions de l'Amen, a reading of new work by poet Michael O'Siadhail, and a performance of the Duke-commissioned St Luke Passion, conducted by the composer James MacMillian, with King's College Choir.  (See