Creativity and the Roots of Liturgy: Liturgy as Art Form

Dissertation, Graduate Theological Union (1993)

This dissertation centers around the following assumption: all creativity is co-creativity. I will draw an analogy between such co-creativity as found in human conception/gestation/birth, as found in aesthetical creation, and finally in the liturgical event. To do this, I will locate in human procreation seven marks of human creativity, which will be applied to both other areas. The marks are connaturality of the partners, fertility, conception, the union as identical to, not causing, the offspring, gestation, labor, and birth. ;In aesthetics I will use the writings, first, of Jacques Maritain. Through them I will describe the conception and gestation of a work of art. Then I will approach the work of Susanne Langer, using it to describe the various art genres and their formal identity with internal subjective life. In liturgy I will examine first the life of God's Trinity in its relation to the world, following the suggestion of Edward Kilmartin that a theology of liturgy must first be a theology of the Trinity. Each union of the trinitarian persons with the world will be seen as co-creative in a manner analogous to human procreativity and aesthetic production. ;One most significant union will be of special interest: "grace," the self-communication of God to the depths of a human person. When graced persons assemble with other such persons , their collective union with the Holy Spirit gives birth to the liturgy. In this sense, liturgy is a symbolic projection of the assembly's God-oned subjective identity. Thus Christ is "born" into the symbolic ritual, and now a new and more external union with the assembly takes place. This new union is another conception, which gives birth to Christian action in the world. ;Finally I will apply to liturgy the following categories of Langer: materials, elements, basic abstraction, primary illusion, commanding form, and basic rhythm. These will point to a unified gestalt for liturgy, one which contains within itself subsidiary arts such as music
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