Tikkun Olam—To Mend the World: A Confluence of Theology and the Arts

Tikkun Olam—To Mend the World: A Confluence of Theology and the Arts. Eugene: Pickwick Publications, 2014.


Tikkun Olam—To Mend the World is an edited volume of essays premised on the conviction that artists, theologians and others have things to learn from one another, things about the complex interrelationality of life, and about a coherence of things given and sustained by God. The essays attend to the lives and burdens and hopes that characterize human life in a world broken but unforgotten, in travail but moving towards the freedom promised by a faithful Creator. They reflect on whether the world – wounded as it is by war, by hatred, by exploitation, by neglect, by reason, and by human imagination itself – can be healed. Can there be repair? And can art and theology tell the truth of the world’s woundedness and still speak of its hope?

Table of Contents

IntroductionJason Goroncy

“Prophesy to these Dry Bones”: The Artist’s Role in Healing the EarthWilliam Dyrness 

Cosmos, Kenosis, and CreativityTrevor Hart 

Re-forming Beauty: Can Theological Sense Accommodate Aesthetic Sensibility?Carolyn Kelly

Questioning the Extravagance of Beauty in a World of PovertyJonathan Ryan

Living Close to the WoundLibby Byrne

The Sudden Imperative and Not the Male Gaze: Reconciliatory Relocations in the Art Practice of Allie EagleJoanna Osborne and Allie Eagle

Building from the Rubble: Architecture, Memory, and HopeMurray Rae

The Interesting Case of Heaney, the Critic, and the IncarnationJohn Dennison 

New Media Art Practice: A Challenge and Resource for Multimedia WorshipJulanne Clarke-Morris

Silence, Song, and the Sounding-Together of CreationSteven Guthrie 


‘Artistically sensitive, theologically rich, and eminently readable – this is a rare combination, but it is amply demonstrated in this fascinating set of essays’. – Jeremy Begbie, Duke Divinity School, Duke University

‘Emerging from a theological symposium and an art exhibition, the essays in this book show in glorious profusion and profundity the marks of this double origin. Theologians, artists, literary scholars, and musicians combine to bear witness to a world that is broken and yet is also the stage for a decisive event of divine love and healing. These are essays full of insights about order and disorder, beauty and tragedy. Their achievement is to make the reader think and, above all, imagine’. – Paul S. Fiddes, University of Oxford

‘The contributors to this book seek to stay alive between the questions and the answer. They have labored to offer us their reflections on realities that have been made and which are still being made anew. The result is a prayer to stir us awake. We need such books’. – from the Foreword by Alfonse Borysewicz


Peter J. Leithart, ‘Art and the World’s Repair’First Things (13 March, 2014).

Jeff Johnson, in Image Journal 283 (19 March, 2014).

Geoffrey Colmer, in Regent’s Reviews (April 2014): 19–21.

Rachelle Eaton, ‘An Act of Hope’ (Part I and Part II) in Englewood Review of Books (23 May 2014).

Alistair McBride, in Candour 13 (2014): 23–24.

Reviewers describe the book as: ‘excellent’, ‘a very creative and stimulating compilation’, ‘artistically sensitive, theologically rich, and eminently readable’, ‘glorious profusion and profundity’, and as ‘an imaginative, thoughtful, and invigorating read’.