Requests for Books about Christianity and Beauty

Hagia Sophia ; Empress Zoë mosaic : Christ Pan...

Hagia Sophia ; Empress Zoë mosaic : Christ Pantocrator; Istanbul, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This weekend I have finished Frank Schaeffer’s Crazy for God (review tomorrow), watched Donald Miller‘s Blue Like Jazz movie and gone to visit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.  All three of which, have made me think in different ways about the importance of beauty to our Christian faith and theology.  I have only read a few things that have tangentially related to beauty and Christianity.

I would really like to explore some more.  Does anyone have any suggestions for books, movies or lectures that would cover the theological issues around beauty and Christianity?


I am not an expert, but a dabbler, – Theological Aesthetics: A Reader edited by Gesa Elsbeth Thiessen is a good sampler of authors and thought from across church history. It includes an excerpt from von Balthasar’s opus The Glory of the Lord. If you search for it on Amazon it also includes other titles, including ones by Begbie, Dyrness and Frank Burch Brown – as well as von Balthasar and the Siedell I mention below.

Two other books more narrowly about Christianity and the arts include Daniel Siedell’s God in the Gallery and Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Art in Action.

Inderectly walking on water by Madeline lengle. She talks about creativity, beauty, seeing things differently. The book helped change my thoughts on creativity, beauty and how it relates to life and faith.

I would be interested in any books you come up with for this list.

“Why Beauty Matters” by Karen Lee-Thorp This book deals with issues of physical beauty as experienced by women who have felt they do and do not have beauty and how that affects their everyday life. Though I read this book fourteen years ago, a certain part of it had such a profound effect on me I clearly remember exactly where I was while reading. The authors do an excellent job at looking at the many different experiences and effects women have concerning the issue of beauty and perhaps most importantly, they show us according to scripture, God’s perspective on beauty.

Also “Imagine That:Discovering Your Unique Role as a Christian Artist” by Manuel Luz. It’s unfortunate that Luz painted himself into a corner with the title of the book singling out artists because he does such an excellent job of defining the terms and the conversation is so needed and valid: everyone who engages it will be benefited. I so enjoyed reading this book, I purposefully read it very slowly so as to savour the thoughts. I told my husband I was sure this must be the Very Best book ever written about art! I’m just wading into the arena of reading, so I may be a bit premature and grandiose in my assessment but as for now: that’s how I see it. 🙂

    Thanks Theressa. I will check them out. Second sounds more like what I am looking for, but I will look for a copy of the first too.

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