DSPT to Offer a Catholic Orientation for Working Artists in Any Creative Discipline

The Way of Beauty Book Will Be a Text Book for the Course.

The Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, which is part of the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley University in California is offering an exciting new Certificate in Theological Studies which is intended for working artists. This is a Masters level, four-course (12-unit) Certificate which is recommended for those who already have a working knowledge of a specific art medium (visual arts, music, architecture etc.) and wish to augment their expertise with a specialized focus in the relationship of the fine arts to Catholic worship and culture.

The approach to this certificate program assumes the “cross-disciplinary approach” between philosophy and theology that uniquely characterizes all DSPT curricula. Furthermore, in this particular program there will be a focus on the integration of theory with praxis, particularly as it applies to Catholic worship and culture. An emphasis on the outcomes of this course is on the evangelization of the culture through a well discerned engagement with contemporary cultures so that the creativity of the artist is directed towards the engagement of contemporary man, without any compromise of the core principles of a traditional Christian culture.

The Certificate program of studies is organized by the Academic Dean of the DSPT, Fr Chris Renz (some readers may remember that I highlighted his excellent article on liturgy and culture published in Antiphon recently). Also involved will be Fr Michael Morris, art historian and professor of religion and the arts at DSPT, who is also well known as a writer on Christian art and culture. . He and Fr Renz are both leading lights in the research institute for religion and the arts called the Santa Fe Institute which has over 12,000 volumes in its library. This resource will be available to students on this certificate.

Anyone who has read any of my writings over the years will see why I am enthusiastic about this – these themes of inculturation, worship and fresh creativity are at the heart of my own ideas about the evangelization of the culture. I am thrilled, as you can imagine, when Fr Renz told me that he intends to use my book the Way of Beauty as one of the texts for the opening course of the Certificate program.

The first course of the four to be offered, in the coming Fall, is called the Foundational Principles of Catholic Liturgy and Worship. To complete the Certificate in Theological Studies program with a specialization in Sacred Arts, the student must complete the four courses indicated below, typically over two or more semesters.

1. Foundational Principles of Catholic Liturgy and Worship (next offered Fall 2016)

2. Liturgical Piety: Anthropological Foundations of Catholic Worship (next offered Spring 2017)

3. One Elective offering from any advisor-approved Religion and the Arts course. These are the courses particularly that will be practical elements, such as painting.

4. Christian Iconography (next offered Fall 2016)

The format for all courses is once per week for just under 3 hours. Courses will typically offered during the weekday (which means that you have to be within striking distance of Berkeley, California in order to take it).

The named outcomes are to:

• imbue students with an understanding of sacred art and its relationship to sacred liturgy;

• provide students with the philosophical and theological foundations for the anthropological as well as the transcendent aspects of art;

• provide basic principles for using the fine arts as a vehicle for “preaching the gospel” to the contemporary culture.

Application Process

Applicants must complete the DSPT Certificate of Theological Studies application (found at the DSPT website), including a statement of purpose, official transcript, and two letters of recommendation. Application is on a rolling admission process.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition rate for 2016-2017 academic year is $715 per semester unit (all courses are 3 units). For further information, contact Fr. Chris Renz, O.P. at crenz@dspt.edu, or 510-883-2084. You can read about this course on the DSPT website at www.dspt.edu/sacred-arts