Graduate Theological Union
Art and Religion
Building on the pioneering legacy of the Graduate Theological Union’s interdisciplinary study of faith traditions and the arts, the program is devoted to this study in its many aspects, including the historical, the theological, and the spiritual. Students pursue this study through an emphasis on the history of the arts (includes, but not limited to, literary, visual, and performing arts) or through philosophical and theological aesthetics.
The embodied journey of
Protocols and Area-Related Materials
Core Doctoral Faculty
MIA M. MOCHIZUKI • GTU/JST (Art History and Religion) • Reformation; seventeenth century Dutch and global Baroque art history.
MICHAEL MORRIS, O.P. • DSPT (Religion and the Arts) • Christian iconography; biography; oral history; film studies; art history; hagiography.
RONALD NAKASONE • CARE (Buddhist Art and Aesthetics) • Buddhist art and aesthetics; spirituality and aging.
ANSELM RAMELOW, O.P. • DSPT (Theology, Philosophy) • Philosophy of religion; philosophical aesthetics; philosophy of the person; free will; philosophy of language.
ROSSITZA SCHROEDER • PSR (Art and Religion) • Early Christian and Byzantine Art; Western Medieval Art; Islamic Art.
HARRY CRONIN, C.S.C. • CARE (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. FERNANDEZ, 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.
DEVIN ZUBER • PSR (American Studies, Literature and Swedenborgian Studies) • Aesthetics and visual culture; American Studies; literary theory; romanticism; Emanuel Swedenborg; environmental literature and ecocriticism.
Offered at DSPT, JST, PSR, 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.
The program in Art and Religion engages doctoral students in a dynamic scholarly learning community, focusing on critical reflection on the arts as a locus of religious meaning. The program prepares students to find where art and faith traditions meet in academic, religious, and art institutions. Our graduates work in the areas of art and faith train academic, religious, and art institutions.
Persons applying for the program are expected to have an MA, or the academic equivalent, in art history, or aesthetics, or theology.
Students must have proficiency in two languages other than English. Ordinarily one of these would be German, Spanish, French, or Italian. Plans for acquiring sufficient language proficiency are established on an individual basis by the student in consultation with the academic adviser.
In consultation with the academic adviser, 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 the history of the arts course and one upper division aesthetics course are required. Each student will also write two substantial research papers (one emphasizing content and the other methodological in emphasis, not in the same discipline) to fulfill the research readiness requirements; and, if necessary (consulting with the advisor), the student will do additional qualifying seminar work.
Supporting courses in religion and the arts are also available through the Center for Arts, Religion and Education.
A) 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 1) the history of the arts; or 2) aesthetics.
B) 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.
C) The student will write another research paper of 30 to 40 pages dealing with the minor focus of his or her discipline, either 1) the history of the arts; or 2) aesthetics or an allied field approved by the Area. The student is responsible for making sure the minor focus paper is approved by a faculty member in that discipline.
D) 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.
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.
Those students from other GTU Areas who elect Art and Religion as an allied field will:
- Identify a Core Doctoral Faculty advisor in the Area. The student, in consultation and with the approval of the advisor, will chart a program in aesthetics and the history of art.
- Petition the Area early in the program, ideally before the beginning of the third semester, for Art and Religion as an allied field.
- Successfully complete two doctoral level courses (4000-6000). The student’s advisor will review and assess the papers submitted for these courses to ensure they meet the standards of the Area.
- Include a CDF member of the Art and Religion faculty on the Comprehensive Examination Committee.
- Submit evidence to the Area of successful completion of the above requirements.