Christianity and a Theology of the Arts: Recommended Reading

Here are my top 40 books on art and the Christian:

This will be a brief but timely article. Brief, because it is mainly just a recommended reading list. Moreover, since I am not an artist as such, nor an expert in art, but just one who does very much appreciate art, I do not have a whole lot to say about the topic.

However, it should be pointed out that over the years I have written various pieces on art and beauty, and how this relates to the Christian faith. Some of these articles that might be of some interest to you are these:

billmuehlenberg.com/2011/07/28/art-and-the-christian/

billmuehlenberg.com/2014/04/27/schaeffer-art-and-the-christian/

billmuehlenberg.com/2016/09/04/review-75-masterpieces-every-christian-know-terry-glaspey/

billmuehlenberg.com/2017/04/11/art-second-commandment/

billmuehlenberg.com/2019/04/04/christian-ministry-vocation-and-the-glory-of-god/

This article is a bit timely mainly for two reasons. One, just yesterday I penned a piece asking if there will be art galleries in heaven. In it I looked at the bigger issue of culture in general and how it fits in with the present life and the future life. You can see that article here: billmuehlenberg.com/2022/07/20/will-there-be-art-galleries-in-heaven-christianity-culture-and-eschatology/

Two, someone kindly sent in a comment to that article with some recommended reading on the matter. I briefly replied, but thought I should update a bibliography on art and the Christian that I already had and then post it, so that he and others can see some of the sorts of titles I recommend in this area. So here it is.

All up there are 40 books featured here in two sections: 26 general titles on art and beauty, and 14 books looking at film, movies, Hollywood, and so on.

General titles

Anderson, Cameron, The Faithful Artist: A Vision for Evangelicalism and the Arts. IVP, 2016.
Barrs, Jerram, Echoes of Eden: Reflections on Christianity, Literature, and the Arts. Crossway, 2013.
Begbie, Jeremy, Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music. Baker, 2007.
Begbie, Jeremy, Daniel Train and W. David O. Taylor, eds., The Art of New Creation: Trajectories in Theology and the Arts. IVP, 2022.
Covington, David, A Redemptive Theology of Art. Zondervan, 2018.
Dowley, Tim, Christian Music: A Global History, rev. ed. SPCK, 2011, 2018.
Dyrness, William, Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in Dialogue. Baker, 2001.
Fujimura, Makoto, Art and Faith: A Theology of Making. Yale University Press, 2021.
Fujimura, Makoto, Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life. IVP, 2017.
Glaspey, Terry, Discovering God through the Arts: How We Can Grow Closer to God by Appreciating Beauty & Creativity. Moody, 2021.
Glaspey, Terry, 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know. Baker, 2015.
Harries, Richard, Seeing God in Art: The Christian Faith in 30 Images. SPCK, 2020.
Jeffrey, David Lyle, In the Beauty of Holiness: Art and the Bible in Western Culture. Eerdmans, 2017.
Loverance, Rowena, Christian Art. Harvard University Press, 2007.
Mattes, Mark, Martin Luther’s Theology of Beauty. Baker, 2017.
Ramsey, Russ, Rembrandt Is in the Wind: Learning to Love Art through the Eyes of Faith. Zondervan, 2022.
Rookmaker, Hans, Art Needs No Justification. IVP, 1978.
Rookmaker, H. R., Modern Art and the Death of a Culture. Crossway, 1994.
Ryken, Leland, Art for God’s Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts. P&R, 2006.
Ryken, Leland, The Christian Imagination: Essays on Literature and the Arts. Baker, 1981.
Ryken, Leland, Culture in Christian Perspective: A Door to Understanding and Enjoying the Arts. Multnomah, 1986.
Schaeffer, Francis, Art and the Bible. IVP, 1973.
Skillen, John, Putting Art (Back) in Its Place. Hendrickson, 2016.
Treier, Daniel, Mark Husbands, and Roger Lundin, eds., The Beauty of God: Theology and the Arts. IVP, 2007.
Veith, Gene Edward, State of the Arts: From Bezalel to Mapplethorpe. Crossway, 1991.
Wolterstorff, Nicholas, Art in Action: Towards a Christian Aesthetic. Eerdmans, 1980.

Image of A Redemptive Theology of Art: Restoring Godly Aesthetics to Doctrine and Culture
A Redemptive Theology of Art: Restoring Godly Aesthetics to Doctrine and Culture by Covington, David A. (Author) Amazon logo

Hollywood, film, movies and pop culture

Baehr, Ted, So You Want To Be in Pictures? B&H, 2005.
Barsotti, Catherine and Robert Johnston, eds., God in the Movies: A Guide For Exploring Four Decades Of Film. Brazos, 2017.
Cawkwell, Tim, The Filmgoer’s Guide To God. Darton, Longman and Todd, 2004.
Detweiler, Craig, Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century. Baker, 2008.
Geivet, R. Douglas and James Spiegel, eds., Faith, Film and Philosophy: Big Ideas on the Big Screen. IVP, 2007.
Godawa, Brian, Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment. IVP, 2002.
Hibbs, Thomas, Shows About Nothing. Spence Publishing, 1999.
Johnston, Robert, Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue. Baker, 2006.
Johnston, Robert, Useless Beauty: Ecclesiastes Through the Lens of Contemporary Film. Baker, 2004.
Johnston, Robert, Craig Detweiler and Kutter Callaway, Deep Focus: Film and Theology in Dialogue. Baker, 2019.
Lewerenz, Spencer and Barbara Nicolosi, eds., Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders On Faith, Film, and Culture. Baker, 2005.
Romanowski, William, Cinematic Faith: A Christian Perspective on Movies and Meaning. Baker, 2019.
Romanowski, William, Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture. Brazos, 2001.
Turek, Frank and Zach Turek, Hollywood Heroes: How Your Favorite Movies Reveal God. NavPress, 2022.

Two bonus tracks!

After posting this article some other obvious titles came to mind. Let me mention just two more here, both from the late, great Roger Scruton. This important English philosopher and Christian is always worth reading.

The Aesthetics of Architecture. Princeton University Press, 1980.
Beauty: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2011.

He also wrote several books on music, but I would need another bibliography to start covering that topic in more detail.

Happy reading.

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5 Replies to “Christianity and a Theology of the Arts: Recommended Reading”

  1. On the music question have read books by Dan Lucarini? Just asking since because of his background he might be seen by some as having more authority to speak than others.

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