By Richard Viladesau
This is a sequel to Richard Viladesau's well-received 2006 study, The Beauty of the Cross: The Passion of Christ in Theology and the Arts from the Catacombs to the Eve of the Renaissance. It continues his project of presenting theological history by using art as both an independant religious or theological "text" and as a means of understanding the cultural context for academic theology. Viladesau argues that art and symbolism function as an alternative strand of theological expression --sometimes parallel to, sometimes interwoven with, and sometimes in tension with formal theological reflection on the meaning of crucifixion and its role in salvation history. Using specific works of art to epitomize particular artistic and theological paradigms, he explores the contours of each paradigm through the works of representative theologians as well as liturgical, poetic, artistic, and musical sources. The period covered by this new volume is one that was especially eventful for both theology and art, and thus particularly fruitful for Viladesau's project.