ONLINE EDITION: ARTS (vol. 28, no. 2)

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Aesthetics of Silence

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by Kimberly Vrudny, Senior Editor of ARTS: The Arts in Religious and Theological Studies

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Portfolio: Y.Z. Kami

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Born in 1956 in Tehran, Iran into a Shia family, Y.Z. Kami is an acclaimed artist living in New York City. In The Guardian, critic Laura Cumming praised Kami’s paintings in a solo exhibition at Gagosian Gallery, London in 2015: “How can one depict the inner being, the private thoughts, the spiritual beliefs? Kami is prodigiously aware of the limitations of portraiture. Yet it is obvious from these paintings, with their intense aspect of interiority, of trying to make visible the invisible, that he is thinking about this dimension of our lives as few other contemporary painters.” Along with a career-long focus on portraiture, Kami has also created more abstract, geometric works in his “Endless Prayers” series. In this issue, we are featuring four paintings as well as two mixed media works from the “Endless Prayers” series. In Artforum in 2016, Myrna Ayad called one of Kami’s exhibitions, with this combination of paintings and mixed media works, “a prayer for the soul.”

Kami received his B.A. and M.A. in 1981 from the University of Paris-Sorbonne, France, and afterward he studied at Conservatoire Libre du Cinema, Paris, in 1982. Kami’s portrait series “In Jerusalem” was included in the 52nd Biennale di Venezia in 2007. Recent solo museum exhibitions include: “Perspectives,” Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. in 2008; “Beyond Silence,” National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens in 2009–2010; and “Endless Prayers,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California in 2016–2017.

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On Retreat

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by David Rensberger

David Rensberger lives near Atlanta, Georgia. He has written widely on topics relating to the Bible and Christian spirituality, and has published poetry in several journals. He continues to research and write, and to lead retreats and workshops, having retired from the classroom after thirty years teaching at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Beneath Our Speech

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by Mark S. Burrows

Mark S. Burrows is professor of theology and literature at the University of Applied Sciences in Bochum, Germany. His poems and translations have recently appeared in Poetry, 91st Meridian, The Cortland Review, The Anglican Theological Review, The Southern Quarterly, Eremos, Weavings, Metamorphoses, The Tablet, and Almost Island, among others. A forthcoming volume of his poems, The Chance of Home, will be published in 2017. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Don't Cry Out

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by Hilde Domin

Hilde Domin (1909-2006), one of the leading German poets of the 20th century, grew up in a Jewish family in Cologne, eventually leaving Germany in 1932 to study in Italy. From there, she and her husband fled Mussolini’s fascist regime and found asylum in the Dominican Republic. She returned to her native land in 1954, and during the five decades until her death became one of the most distinguished and much celebrated voices among German writers.

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Apophatic Prayer

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by Karl Plank

Karl Plank is the J. W. Cannon Professor of Religion at Davidson College (NC). His poetry has appeared in journals including Beloit Poetry Journal, New Madrid, Spiritus, The Anglican Theological Review and Poetry Daily. His teaching and research concern biblical and poetic intertextuality, contemplation and ethics, and modern Jewish literature and thought. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Day and Night

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by Kuno Raeber

The Swiss writer Kuno Raeber (1922-1992) published six volumes of poetry from 1950 to 1983, with poems from his literary remains following in 2010. His poetry often treats religious themes, and his writings are filled with historical and mythological references. His published and posthumous works appeared in 2010 in the Werke (Collected Works), and include, alongside poetry, volumes of essays and criticism, dramatic pieces, travel books, stories, and novels.

Stuart Friebert has published a dozen books of poems, among which Funeral Pie co-won the Four Way Book Award in 1997. He recently published Decanting: Selected & New Poems: 1967-2017 (Lost Horse Press). Christiane Wyrwa studied German and English Literature at Göttingen, Durham (GB) and Berlin, where she took a Ph.D. in 1981.

The poem included here is from a forthcoming volume of Kuno Raeber’s poems, Votives. Selected Poems from the Literary Remains of Kuno Raeber, also with Christiane Wyrwa (Lost Horse Press, 2017); thanks to Scaneg Verlag, Munich, for permission to print this translation. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Outside Monticiano, Tuscany

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by Katy Giebenhain

Katy Giebenhain edits the Poetry + Theology rubric for Seminary Ridge Review. Her poems have appeared in Saint Katherine Review, The Cresset, Glasgow Review of Books, The Examined Life Journal, Transpositions, Spiritus, and elsewhere. She co-hosts a coffeehouse reading series in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Her collection Sharps Cabaret is forthcoming from Mercer University Press. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Art as Discernment

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by Michael Hebbeler

Michael Hebbeler serves as the director of discernment and advocacy in the Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame. He guides students in their exploration of vocation both in the classroom and through individual spiritual direction. He partners with Catholic Relief Services to train students in developing and implementing advocacy campaigns on social justice issues, and instructs an inside-out modeled course at Westville Correctional Facility in northern Indiana.

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Silence in an Age of Mass Media

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by Jonathan A. Anderson

Jonathan A. Anderson is an artist, art critic, and associate professor of art at Biola University, where he also serves as the executive director of the Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts. He is the coauthor with theologian William Dyrness of Modern Art and the Life of a Culture: The Religious Impulses of Modernism (IVP Academic, 2016), from which the following is adapted. Copyright © 2016 by Jonathan A. Anderson and William A. Dyrness. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA. www.ivpress.com

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Beauty from Silence

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by Brian Kirby

Reverend Doctor Brian Kirby holds a doctor of ministry degree in arts and theology from the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Kirby also holds a master of divinity degree from the Baptist Theological Seminary of Richmond, Virginia. His undergraduate degrees in music and French are from Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina. He is the pastor of Rome International Church in Rome, Italy, and is a frequent visitor to Taizé where he has been able to work directly with several of the Brothers of Taizé to better understand their community and its theology.

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Art that Silences and Art that Speaks

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by Colleen Mary Carpenter

Colleen Mary Carpenter is Sister Mona Riley Endowed Chair of the Humanities and associate professor of systematic theology at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is the author of An Unexpected Wilderness: Christianity and the Natural World (Orbis, 2016), and Redeeming the Story: Women, Suffering, and Christ (Continuum, 2004).

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Unelected Silence: An Essay

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by Mark DelCogliano

Mark DelCogliano is an assistant professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas. He specializes in early Christianity, particularly in doctrinal debates during that period. He lived as a monk for seven years at a Trappist community in Massachusetts before earning his Ph.D. at Emory University. The title of his essay is a play on Elected Silence, the title given by Evelyn Waugh to the British version of Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain.

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Lost Homelands: An Interview with Hratch Arbach

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by John Shorb

Born in 1975 in Damascus, Hratch Arbach makes artwork and builds installations that take on some of the toughest issues in Middle Eastern politics today, such as the Syrian Civil War and suicide bombers. Arbach is from a Christian family, the child of a Syrian father and an Armenian mother. Pursuing a career in science, he moved from Damascus to Paris in 2000, completed a doctorate in molecular biology, and then eventually became an artist. Arbach studied at l’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs. In 2014, he became the first Middle Eastern artist to take part in Nuit Blanche, an annual all-night arts festival in Paris. Arbach exhibited his installation, “Mawtini—Notre Terre”  in the Church of Saint-Séverin in the Latin Quarter. I met Arbach in his home in New York City to hear about this work.

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The Reformation at 100: Protestant Theology in Art and Material Culture

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by Jennifer Awes-Freeman

Jennifer Awes Freeman is a visiting assistant professor of historical theology at the University of St Thomas. She recently completed her doctoral work at Vanderbilt University; her dissertation, “Erasing God: Carolingians, Controversy, and the Ashburnham Pentateuch,” is a study of Trinitarian doctrine and images during the transition from Late Antiquity to the early Middle Ages. During the summer of 2016, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame.

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Silence: A Film by Director Martin Scorsese from a Book of the Same Name by Shisaku Endo (1923-1996)

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Reviewed by David Penchansky

David Penchansky is a professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of St. Thomas. His research and writing have focused on the books of Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. Currently, his research concerns the interpretation of the Qur’an. He is active in the newly formed International Qur’anic Studies Association. He reviews films of theological significance for his department’s publication, Theology Matters, where this review first appeared.

Read more: Silence: A Film by Director Martin Scorsese from a Book of the Same Name by Shisaku Endo (1923-1996)

Two New Titles on Beauty and Silence

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by Mark McInroy

In every issue, book review editor Mark McInroy supplies notes on books recently released in theology and the arts. He is an assistant professor of systematic theology at the University of St. Thomas, and has published academic examinations of Origen of Alexandria, Martin Luther, Karl Barth, Karl Rahner, and Hans Urs von Balthasar. He is the author of Balthasar on the Spiritual Senses: Perceiving Splendour (Oxford University Press, 2014), and was a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise.

Read more: Two New Titles on Beauty and Silence