Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology

Religion and the Arts

True art has a close affinity with the world of faith, so that, even in situations where culture and the Church are far apart, art remains a kind of bridge to religious experience. Saint John Paul II

Biblical movie poster from the collection
of Santa Fe Institute.

Religion and the Arts encompasses the full range of approaches that consider the nature and role of art in society, most generally, and, more specifically, within the Church.

The concentration offers a wide variety of courses that reflect the interplay of religion and culture as mediated through the arts. Through their study and research, students discover how art interprets the human experience - learning what ails our contemporary society, what gives it life and joy, and how God is made manifest through the fine arts.

The unique combination of philosophy and theology provided in the concurrent MA program enables students in this concentration to connect philosophical inquiry to the study of religion and the arts. A two-semester course in philosophical aesthetics bridges the gap between philosophy and art through a careful examination of the philosophy of beauty (drawing on the works of Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, Gadamer, Sartre, Maritain, Gilson, and others). Other philosophy classes provide different access points to address fundamental questions: What constitutes a work of art? What is human creativity? How does art touch the Divine?

Faculty expertise is available from philosophical, historical, and theological perspectives, including in relation to contemporary media, such as film and poetry.

The program offers a selection of classes focusing on various arts, from music, painting, sculpture and architecture to contemporary cinema. Students are also able to spend a semester in Rome, studying at the Angelicum and experiencing the artistic, architectural, musical, and liturgical splendor of the Eternal City. The Bay Area itself is also a rich resource for museums.

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DSPT Faculty

Fr. Bryan Kromholtz, OP, Theology
Fr. Michael Morris, OP, Religion and the Arts
Fr. Anselm Ramelow, OP, Philosophy
Fr. Chris Renz, OP, Poetry and Creative Intuition
Fr. Augustine Thompson, OP, History

GTU Faculty

Kathryn Barush, Art History and Religion, JST
Frank Burch Brown, Religion and the Arts, CTS
Harry Cronin, CSC, Theological Aesthetics; Theater; Film, CARE
Ron Nakason Buddhist Art and Culture, CARE
Rossitza Schroeder,  Art History, Medieval Studies, PSR
Devin Zuber, American Studies, Literature and Swedenborgian Studies, PSR

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