Graduate Theological Union

Art and Religion


Student Work

James Ryan Parker,

Ministers of Movies: Sherwood Pictures and the Church Film Movement

Angela Yarber,

Dancing Feet Find Holy Ground: Embodying the "Feminine" in the Dances of the World's Religions





The embodied journey of
Angela Yarber, Ph.D. '10

Ryan Parker

Ryan Parker,
Power of Activist Filmmaking

Rebecca Berru Davis

Rebecca Berru Davis,
Stitching Hope and Beauty


Cecilia González-Andrieu (Ph.D. '07),

Assistant Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University

Viji Nakka-Cammauf (Ph.D. '03),

Founder and President, Little Flock
Children's Home, Hanumanthapuram,

Related Blogs presents reviews of popular culture from a progressive Christian theological perspective. Maintained by Ryan Parker Ph.D. '10 and Richard Lindsay Ph.D. '11.







This Area of Concentration is available to students affiliated with the following schools: CDSP, DSPT, JST, PSR, and SKSM.



The M.A. in Art and Religion deals with the way in which art and religion inform each other, focusing on a variety of media, especially the visual arts, film, dance, drama, literature, and music in their contemporary as well as historic expressions.  Students research projects can range from the history of art in any particular medium to Theological Aesthetics, and can include a variety of time periods, religious practices, theological inquiry, and church institutions, among other options. Each school may have a distinct emphasis. 

In addition to GTU courses, students can do coursework in the arts at the University of California at Berkeley and Mills College, while enjoying access to the cultural resources of the San Francisco Bay Area.

M.A. Requirements




The program in Art and Religion engages doctoral students in a dynamic scholarly learning community, focusing on critical reflection in the arts as a locus of religious meaning. Our graduates work in the areas of art and faith traditions, in academic, religious, and arts institutions.

Admission Requirements

Persons applying for the program are expected to have an MA, or the academic equivalent, in art history, or aesthetics, or theology.

Language Requirements

Students must have proficiency in two languages for scholarly research other than English. Ordinarily one of these must be a modern language such as German, Spanish, French, or Italian.


In consultation with the academic advisor students pursue pre-dissertation coursework, research, and writing of papers with GTU and UC Berkeley faculty. Students should define and gain expertise in a field of specialization as a preliminary step toward the dissertation. One upper division (4000-6000 level) in history of the arts course and one upper division aesthetics course are required.

Supporting courses in religion and the arts are also available through the Center for Arts, Religion and Education and at UCB.

Comprehensive Examinations

The student  will write a research paper of 30 to 40 pages on a subject dealing with the major focus of his or her discipline, either a) the history of the arts; or b) aesthetics.

  1. The student will take a closed book examination of three (3) hours on questions given by the committee that deal with the student's major focus.
  2. The student will write another research paper of 30 to 40 pages dealing with the minor focus of his or her discipline, either a) the history of the arts; or b) aesthetics or an allied field approved by the Area.
  3. The student will do a critical paper on a specific art form or do a creative project designed to display the knowledge of an art form within the context of theology/faith traditions.
The oral examination will follow the written exams and involve the following: a) Questions and Analysis on the part of the student's Committee regarding what was stated in all of the written exams. b) Any new questions the Committee might want to pose to the student in order to determine his or her comprehensive grasp of the discipline. c) A review of a critical paper on a specific art form or of a creative project designed to display the student's knowledge of an art form within the context of theology.


The program's course of study, research, writing, and examinations culminates in a dissertation focusing on one of two possible areas: 1) a specific aspect of the history of the arts and/or religion; or, 2) the philosophical or theological aesthetics of an art form. Dissertation proposals conform to the general rubrics of the GTU doctoral program.

  Allied Field Requirements

Successfully complete two doctoral level courses (4000-6000) in the area. The designated area advisor will review and assess the papers submitted for these courses to ensure they meet the standards of the area.
Pass a comprehensive examination supervised by a Core Doctoral Faculty member from the Art and Religion area.
  You may also go to the Art and Religion website for more information about the area.



Core Doctoral Faculty

MICHAEL MORRIS, O.P. • DSPT (Religion and the Arts) • Christian iconography; hagiography; biography; modern religious art and architecture; cinema.

RONALD NAKASONE • GTU (Buddhist Art and Aesthetics) • Buddhist art and aesthetics; spirituality and aging; Ryukyuan (Okinawan) studies.

ANSELM RAMELOW, O.P. • DSPT (Theology, Philosophy) • Philosophy of religion; philosophical aesthetics; concept of the person; Thomas Aquinas; Kant and German idealism; philosophy of language.

ROSSITZA SCHROEDER • PSR (Art and Religion) • Early Christian and Byzantine art; Western Medieval art; Islamic art.

DEVIN ZUBER • PSR (American Studies, Literature and Swedenborgian Studies) • Religion and Literature; American Transcendentalism (Emerson, Thoreau); Romanticism; William Blake; Emanuel Swedenborg; Literary Theory and Poetics; Environmental Literature and Ecocriticism; Aesthetics and Visual Culture


Consortial Faculty Resources

KATHRYN BARUSH • GTU/JST (Art History & Religion) • Art and material culture of pilgrimage; sacred art in theory and practice; form and functionof Medieval illuminated manuscripts and their modern reception; art and religion of the British Isles.

HARRY CRONIN, C.S.C. • CARE/GTU (Theological Aesthetics) • Theological aesthetics; theater; film.

JANE DILLENBERGER • GTU Emerita (Art History) • The visual arts and Christianity, early Christian to the present, including the United States.

EDUARDO C. FERNÁNDEZ, S.J. • JST (Pastoral Theology and Ministry) • Relationship between faith and culture; U.S. Hispanic theology and ministry; Hispanic religious expressions; celebration of sacraments in multicultural contexts Mexican history and the history of the southwest; relationship between art, spirituality, and inculturation.

BRYAN KROMHOLZ, O.P. • DSPT (Theology) • Contemporary and medieval eschatology; sacraments; nature and grace and nouvelle theologie; theology of aesthetics.

CHRISTOPHER RENZ, O.P. • DSPT (Religion and the Arts) • Connaturality; creative intuition; poetry; science and spirituality of sustainable food production and consumption.

PETER SELZ • UCB Emeritus (Art History) • Contemporary American and European Art.