Literature / Theology / Poetry / Art

(2017/5) Editor(s): Maria Clara Bingemer(c), Solange Lefebvre, Erik Borgman, Mile Babic
Cover Page

Articles of the issue

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

5/2017 Literature and Theology

Editorial

Main articles

  1. Theology in the Way We Live Now: A Theopoetics of Life Writing – Heather Walton
  2. Literature: an Important hermeneutical Mediation for Theology – Cecilia Avenatti de Palumbo
  3. The Poetics of Silence in the Spiritual Canticle of St John of the Cross – Luce López-Baralt
  4. Infinite Reading: Scripture and Interpretation – José Tolentino Mendonça
  5. Dante´s Theology – Vittorio Montemaggi
  6. Grammars of the Flesh: Eros, Poetry and the Body - Luis Gustavo Meléndez Guerrero

Voices from the five continents

  1. Theological Perspectives in Latin American Literature - Carmiña Navia Velasco
  2. Poetics of Survival – Mayra Rivera
  3. The Writer and Christ: ‘The word is the logos and the Logos is God’ – Jean Marie Sebé
  4. Doing Theology with Literature: An Asian Attempt – Huang Po Ho
  5. Theology and Literature in African Christian Faith: Hearers of the Word in Africa - Stan Chu Ilo

Theological Forum 

  1. Pedro Casaldáliga – Emerson Sbardelotti
  2. An Infinite Thirst : Ernesto Cardenal – Faustino do Couto Teixeira
  3. The Mystery of the Cross in a Grown up World : Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Edson Fernando de Almeida e Marcio Capelli
  4. Thomas Merton – Marcelo Timotheo da Costa
  5. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s First Essay ‘Cosmic Life’ and his Prayer to the Cosmic Christ – Ursula King
  6. Some Reflections on the Poetry of Adelia Prado – Cleide Maria De Oliveira

Theology in the Way We Live Now: A Theopoetics of Life Writing

Heather Walton

Abstract

This article explores two trajectories within contemporary theopoetics. The first affirms and deepens the theological tradition and the second offers radical challenges to theological thinking. Both trajectories are evident within the turn to life writing in theological reflection as is illustrated with reference to recent work on the life of Dorothy Day. The article argues that life writing is best able to make a theological contribution when the ambivalent and occluded aspects of human experience are foregrounded and are enabled to offer new insights into our relation with the divine.

Literature: an Important hermeneutical Mediation for Theology

Cecilia Avenatti de Palumbo

Abstract

The article proposes a renewal of theology’s approach through a consideration of the role of creative imagination characteristic of literatura as an aesthetic activity. Through an evaluation of the interdisciplinary status of the dialogue between theology and literature, it lists the successes and the limits of the process that has taken place since the Second Vatican Council until now. The in effectiveness of the paths taken to produce a real transformation of theological language has led the author to explore other possibilities. The change consists in theology’s looking at itself in the mirror of the creative imagination, the coreo f literary activity in order to produce a renewal in the process and approach of theological thinking. In short, the aim is to bring back imagination and action to relitalise theology by taking it back to the creative power that was its original source.

The Poetics of Silence in the Spiritual Canticle of St John of the Cross

Luce López-Baralt

Abstract 

St John of the Cross knows very well that languages is insufficient to discuss mystical experience and so suggests the inexpressible experience at the Summit of the soul by letting his words fall silent so that they do not destroy the sacredness of the mystery of this unión. In the Canticle, therefore, he passes over in silence those moments at the Summit that would have toldo f the marriage with God beyond this world. He hides these imperceptible silence, a treasure like a beating heart, in the reverent space that separates the unifying stanzas ore ven some key lines of the poem. In so doing St John leaves his poetic utterance inaudible, hidden, inviolable, like his unión with God. They are his best lines, those he carved on silence, those he worked out of air, those he was able to protect from the rough covering of speech, those to which he denied an image and musical cadence. Theses lines condemned to silence, more instructive that his most beautiful impotent words, teach us by their infinity-bearing silence. Only through this silence can we celebrate with reverence the magnitude of what has taken place, the unimaginable encounter with the living God.

Infinite Reading: Scripture and Interpretation

José Tolentino Mendonça

Abstract

The history of contemporary biblical exegesis is made up of threefundamental hermeneutical shifts, in which knowledge of literatura has always been an essential partner: hermeneutics centre don the autor, hermeneutics centre don the text and hermeneutics staarting from the role of the reader. These shifts of paradigm do not imply the suppression of the previous attentive to the complexity of the acto f interpretation. All these shifts start from one fundamental premnise: the text is woven, it is textile, a texture, a weave, a woven plot, fabric. As a result, interpretation cannot line on the aspiration to, or the imposition of a single menaing. To interpret is – as literarture shows – to appreciate the plural of which the text is made, in the unique dyanmism inherent in it. Only this gives Access to the infinity of Reading.

Grammars of the Flesh: Eros, Poetry and the Body

Luis Gustavo Melendez Guerrero

Abstract

To clarify the relation between eros, the body and poetry by means of the articulation of sacred and profane literature, from what in this work is understood as the grammers of the flesh: the Gospel barrative, mystical and poetic eroticism.

Theological Perspectives in Latin American Literature

Carmiña Navia Velasco

Abstract

The Latin American culture and its literature are imbued with religiosity and theology. It is imposible to make a broad journey that covers this broad reality, so in this article, we Will stop at three novels that run along very different paths: Al Filode Agua, by Augustin Yáñez, Mexican; El Signo del Pez, by Germán Espinosa, Colombian, and El Cristo feo, by Alicia Yáñez Cossio, Ecuadorian. We Will focus on the theological glances that underlie the novelistic worlds that htese authors and author construct. It is about three different literary universes and also three different theological proposals. Readers Will be able to see how, throughout the twentieth century, Christianity in many different aspects is present in the daily life of Latin American peoples.

Poetics of Survival

Mayra Rivera

Abstract

This essay argues that the link between art and survival shapes Caribbean understandings of the term “poetics.” Focusing on works by Derek Walcott and Édouard Glissant, it explains how their poetics uncovers the devastating effects of colonialism and slavery in the Caribbean—including the detrimental consequences of imaginaries informed by Christianity—even as it also seeks to articulate possibilities to move beyond those imaginaries toward new ways of being.

The Writer and Christ: ‘The word is the logos and the Logos is God’

Jean Baptiste Sebé

Abstract

While Jesus Christ has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for writers, reflection on the role of the world/Logos in literary creation has rarely been explored. By glancing at three writers (Hopkins, Lemaire, McCarthy), this article seeks to show how Jesus Christi s a particular encounter for the writer: the one who is the Logos uses words to send the autor back to the deciphering of a world charged with the grandeur of the inaccesible mystery of God.

Doing Theology with Literature: An Asian Attempt

Huang Po Ho

Abstract

Literature as a form of expression for human thoughts and emotions is more or less, explicitly or implicitly revealing the circumstance of the particular age or its religious background of the authors. There are numerous great literatures in the world, which have come to existence under deep affection of different religions.

The discourse of “theopoetics” in general and particularly in relationship with the interpretation of Scripture and theological reflection is still a very recent development of the intersection between esthetics and rationality. It puts theology in dialogue with all forms of aesthetics: art, literature, music etc. Theopoetics suggests that instead of traditional systematic theology that trying to perceive the nature of God through scientific theories, it is more accurate for theologians to talk about God through poetic articulation.

Different approaches have been taken to engage theology and literatures, It is however, most of these approaches are still taking literature as s subject foreign to theology. The principle of doing theology with Asian resources is in some degree to implicitly illustrate the theological conviction of many Asian theologians that “Identity determines theological resources”. Cultural resources are generated through people’s struggling with their surrounding world throughout their histories. Arts, poems and literatures are thus, no longer considered as only an instrumental role to enhance Biblical hermeneutics and theological discourses, but are a step further being taken as resources of theology.

Theology and Literature in African Christian Faith: Hearers of the Word in Africa

Stan Chu Ilo

Abstract

This essay argues that African theological productions employ multiple methodologies and genres which combine both literature and orature. The essay demonstrates the richness of African theological representations in stories, cultural symbols, liturgical music, dance, mimetics, poetics and biographies. These media of theological communication emerge both within formal and informal settings in both the academy, as well as outside of it. African theologians are now harvesting the text for theological reflection in multiple sites and stories of actual faith of African Christians in shrines, healing homes, war fronts, social ministries, political campaigns, social media etc. The Bible is presented in this essay as the most important Christian literature in Africa. The essay shows the relationship between biblical narratives, their composition, literary style, content, and the social world of this Christian literature and the African social context and world of faith. African theologies are taking the form of the biblical text, and are reading the momentum of Christian expansion in Africa as a text which like the Bible reveals the footprints of God in history.