Good Taste, Bad Taste, and Christian Taste, by Frank Burch Brown

Frank Burch Brown is a writer capable of shifting his focus in the space of a few pages from the magnificence of Byzantine worship in tenth-century Constantinople to the Precious Moments Chapel outside Branson, Missouri, which opened to visitors 1,002 years later. In the course of this wide-ranging exploration of the relationship between art and religion, he offers perceptive critiques of John Ruskin's quasi-religious aestheticism, Immanuel Kant's defense of aesthetic autonomy and Mircea Eliade's analysis of sacred space. He also advances his argument for "critical pluralism" in the aesthetic realm by citing the music of Duke Ellington, U2 and the Indigo Girls. The religious dimension of the aesthetic, Burch shows, is no less evident in a story by James Baldwin or a poem by Sylvia Plath than in the music of the church.

 

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