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Toward a Sacramental Poetics

Toward a Sacramental Poetics

Edited by Regina Schwartz and Patrick McGrath

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

284 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm, 2 b&w illustrations

  • ISBN: 9780268201494
  • Published: December 2021



Distinguished theologians and literary scholars explore the workings of the sacred and the sacramental in language and literature.

What does a sacramental poetics offer that secular cultural theory, for all of its advances, may have missed? How does a sacred understanding of the world differ from a strictly secular one? This volume develops the theory of “sacramental poetics” advanced by Regina Schwartz in her 2008 book on English Reformation writers, taking the theory in new directions while demonstrating how enduring and widespread this poetics is.

Toward a Sacramental Poetics addresses two urgent questions we have inherited from a half century of secular critical thought. First, how do we understand the relationship between word and thing, sign and signified, other than as some naive direct representation or as a completely arbitrary language game? And, second, how can the subject experience the world beyond instrumentalizing it? The contributors conclude that a sacramental poetics responds to both questions, offering an understanding of the sign that, by pointing beyond itself, suggests wonder. The contributors explore a variety of topics in relation to sacramental poetics, including political theology, miracles, modernity, translation and transformation, and the metaphysics of love. They draw from diverse resources, from Dante to Hopkins, from Richard Hooker to Stoker's Dracula, from the King James Bible to Wallace Stevens. Toward a Sacramental Poetics is an important contribution to studies of religion and literature, the sacred and the secular, literary theory, and theologies of aesthetics.

Contributors: Regina M. Schwartz, Patrick J. McGrath, Rowan Williams, Subha Mukherji, Stephen Little, Kevin Hart, John Milbank, Hent de Vries, Jean-Luc Marion, Ingolf U. Dalferth, Lori Branch, and Paul Mariani.