The Contemporary Convergence of Art and Religion

Robert Wuthnow

in The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588961
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 The Contemporary Convergence of Art and Religion

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This article shows, perhaps surprisingly for many, that religion and art, while they overlap at certain points, do not easily accommodate each other. The relationship spans a continuum, the oppositional end of which would include Islam, which prohibits all forms of representational art; types of Buddhism, including such modern movements as Korean Won Buddhism and the Thai Santi Asoke movement, both of which oppose the use of images of the Buddha; forms of Christian asceticism, including elements of the Western monastic tradition and Puritanism. At the more accommodating end, one could place types of Hinduism such as devotional Hinduism, Shinto, and many African and African-derived religions, such as Umbanda and Candomble. The main focus is the United States, where there is an overlap in several domains, including dance and rock music in the liturgy.

Keywords: Islam; representational art; Buddhism; Thai Santi Asoke; Western monastic tradition; Hinduism; United States; rock music

Article.  6532 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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