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A Piercing Light: Beauty, Faith, and Human Transcendence (American Maritain Association Publications)

A Piercing Light: Beauty, Faith, and Human Transcendence (American Maritain Association Publications)

Regular price $32.95
  • ISBN-13: 9780982711972
  • Publisher: The Catholic University of America Press
  • Release Date: Mar 25, 2015
  • Pages: 300 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.46 x 0.80 x 8.81 inches


The meeting of Jacques Maritain and the avant-garde artist Jean Cocteau in the summer of 1925 produced two significant results: Cocteau returned to his Catholic faith, and it led the poet and the philosopher to exchange letters reflecting on the relationship between art and faith. While Cocteau proclaimed that the spiritual nature of art orders man to God, Maritain tempers his new friend’s enthusiasm in asserting, “Between the world of poetry and that of sainthood there exists an analogical relation. . . . All errors come from the fact that people misread this analogy: some swell the similarity, mixing poetry and mysticism; others weaken it, making poetry out to be a craft, a mechanical art.” The essays in this volume further this discussion by examining how the practice of both art and faith necessarily order man to transcendent fulfillment, yet do so in very different ways. The first section of the book examines the analogical nature of art and faith, illustrating how art foreshadows, but cannot replace, the supernatural perfection offered by faith. The second section reflects on the nature of art as a virtue perfecting human creativity, and how art is more than mere craftsmanship owing to the transformative role of inspiration. The third section contemplates the purpose of the work of art as revelatory of truth. The final section explores how the arts become debased when their practice rejects the goal of beauty. Art, when so separated from the transcendent ends of man, tragically corrupts both itself and society. Contributors include: James Brent, OP, Stephen Chamberlain, John Conley, SJ, Catherine Deavel, John Marson Dunaway, Daniel B. Gallagher, Marie George, Curtis L. Hancock, James G. Hanink, Andrew Jaspers, Gregory Kerr, Anne Frances Ai Le, OP, Bernadette E. O’Connor, Michael Raiger, Alice Ramos, Michael R. Spicher, Federico Tedesco, and Nikolaj Zunic.

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