In this unit, students will learn to use methods of art appreciation to explore the contemporary significance of central themes of Christian faith. They will investigate and reflect on the role of art in expressing and deepening the viewers’ relationship to the Christian tradition and to questions of personal religious experience and openness to transcendence in everyday life. Students will use historical and critical enquiry to investigate the ways artists negotiated the requirements of their civic and religious contexts to produce and promote religious interpretations through their work. In particular, through the contextual and visual analysis of relevant artworks, students will attempt to re-articulate the biblical themes of creation and incarnation within the imaginary of an evolutionary and dynamic cosmology for contemporary audiences.

Unit code: DS9304C

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Spirituality

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Investigate and articulate a range of theoretical approaches to visual literacy.


Demonstrate how artists balanced the religious and the social agenda of the times.


Critically analyse the way artists have made use of landscape, still life and the body to express their vision of Creation and Incarnation


Articulate an evolutionary understanding of the theology of Creation and Incarnation


Synthesize their learning to show how engaging with art enhances and shapes a person’s understanding of transcendence and religious meaning.


Define, plan and undertake a topic of research in a critically, rigorous, sustained and self-directed manner in relation of one of the topics of this unit.

Unit sequence

It is suggested that one of DS2303C/3303C or DS9303C (Theology and Religious Education through Art) is highly recommended but not required as a prerequisite.


Option A: An andragogical constructive weekly framework using discussion, readings, research and practical classroom demonstrations.
Option B: An andragogical constructive intensive mode framework (36 hours) using discussion, readings, research and practical classroom demonstrations.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Allen, Christopher, Art in Australia, From Colonization to Postmodernism. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997
  • Anderson, Jaynie. The Cambridge companion to Australian Art. Port Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  • BBC Series, Civilisations, BBC; Nutopia, 2018
  • Delio, Ilia. The Emergent Christ. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2011
  • Edwards, Denis: Deep Incarnation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books 2019
  • Gray, Ann (curator). Australia / text by Thomas Keneally [and 7 others]. London: Royal Academy of Arts, [2013].
  • Lev Elizabeth. How Catholic Art Saved the Faith: The Triumph of Beauty and Truth in Counter-Reformation Art. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2018
  • O’Leary, Daniel. An Astonishing Secret. Dublin: Columba Press, 2017
  • O’Murchu, Diarmuid. Incarnation: A New Evolutionary Threshold. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017
  • Williams, Rowan, Christ the Heart of Creation, London: Bloomsbury Continuum, 2018


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

OR 1 x Essay 7000 words

7000 100.0

2 x 3500 word Essays

7000 100.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Carolyn Alsen on 20 Jul, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2019-08-05 10:54:58 +1000