THIS IS a paperback of 136 pages in the "Theology Today Seriesedited by Edward Yarnold Si. Its title aptly, describes its aim. This is the impact of visual aids in the classical context on Christian faith.
Religious themes long dominated art. Those of us who are interested in the Christian life can learn much from works of architecture, painting and sculpture. This book discusses the relationship between the Church, the theologian, the artist and works of art.
It is not simply a history of Christian art, It deals with preChristian art as a prelude to a chapter on that of the Church in the Roman Empire, and on into Christian Society with a distinct chapter dealing with "Italy and
the Renaissance" before the "Counter Reformation and Baroque" period.
The final words of this chapter are a quotation from Nicholas Pevsner, who wrote 30 years ago: "No church designed after 1760 is among the historically leading examples of architecture." The author follows this comment (with which not all of us could agree in 1980) by a chapter on the decadence and decline that ensued in the field of art.
In his ninth and final chapter he gathers up the threads and then takes what he calls "a rash look at the complications of the present century" and in so doing attempts some conclusions. I am amused at the remark on the final page that "while some hard-liners managed to arrange a Mass of reparation" against the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" the reigning pope, Paul VI just two days later, said how much he enjoyed it.
F. Leo Smith SUS