Beginning all over again : a metaxological natural theology of the arts
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Following Russell Re Manning, I acknowledge the diversity and persistence of natural theology. Going further than Re Manning, however, I propose a 5-type taxonomy stretching from natural theology as natural religion to natural theology as theology of nature. Having met this descriptive responsibility, I then turn in a second chapter to prescriptive possibility in dialogue with the Anglican theologian Howard E. Root (1926–2007). An early advocate of natural theology and the arts, Root called in his 1962 essay, “Beginning All Over Again,” for awareness (i.e., of the arts) rather than formal argument. Critiqued by E.L. Mascall and others, Root responded in his 1972 Bampton Lectures, “The Limits of Radicalism.” Never published, I discovered these lectures in an uncatalogued box at Lambeth Palace Library, London. Drawing upon these lectures, as well as other archival materials, I consider Root’s contribution to a natural theology of the arts. That said, Root’s work requires further development, and so in an effort to recover Root I have supplemented his contribution with the more recent work of David Brown, his unacknowledged theological heir. In an effort to recover Root more fully I turn in a third chapter to consider the philosopher William Desmond, the result of which is a metaxologically reformulated Root-Brown hybrid. In a fourth and final chapter, I consider the American contemporary artist Jonathan Borofsky and several others in order to see how this theoretical frame might be applied in practice as a metaxological natural theology of the arts.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Print and electronic copy restricted until 7th September 2020. Plates and appendices permanently embargoed
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations