cover image In the Spirit: A Phenomenology of Faith

In the Spirit: A Phenomenology of Faith

Steven DeLay. Christian Alternative, $13.95 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-78904-753-0

This dense treatise by philosopher DeLay (Before God) puts scripture in conversation with classic works of art to address fundamental questions of faith and existence. “Existence assumes the form of faith, for it becomes a task of stretching forth, a perpetual exodus always in patience seeking after the heavenly city,” DeLay writes, suggesting that art and literature speak to this existential desire by depicting human longings that find resolution in the teachings of the Bible. For example, DeLay asserts that the miserable figures depicted in Adriaen van Ostade’s painting Drunkards in a Tavern lay bare the “spiritual crisis” of the human condition, and the solution is to partake in the “waters of life” as revealed in John’s gospel. Caravaggio’s painting Narcissus portrays Ovid’s character as the epitome of “transcendental egoism,” which DeLay argues results from not humbling oneself before God. DeLay’s prose is dense, abstract, and at times meandering, but the author’s interpretations of works by such artists as Doré, Pissarro, Poussin, and Rodin are original and insightful. This dynamic volume will make a thought-provoking addition to scholarly collections. (May)