Journal Article

STAGING THE INCARNATION: REVISIONING AUGUSTINE'S CRITIQUE OF THEATRE<sup>1</sup>

James K.A. Smith

in Literature and Theology

Volume 15, issue 2, pages 123-139
Published in print June 2001 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online June 2001 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/15.2.123
STAGING THE INCARNATION: REVISIONING AUGUSTINE'S CRITIQUE OF THEATRE1

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This paper reconsiders Augustine's critique of theatre in light of his own affirmation of three key dogmatic themes the goodness of creation, the centrality of the Incarnation, and the promise of resurrection Central to these themes is a fundamental affirmation of embodiment and materiality which undoes his (largely Platonic) critique of drama. The paper first analyses both his ontological critique of theatre (trafficking in images and therefore consorting with nothingness) and ethical critique of drama (for arousing the passions), I then argue that the dogmatic themes above open the space for an affirmative Augustinian account of theatre as part of a broader Christian aesthetic grounded in an incamational (rather than participatory) ontology.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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