Art and Sacred Space

by Elizabeth Lev, Ben Quash, Nicholas Wolterstorff & David Nystrom

A panel of art experts discuss the value and significance of art. They examine how beauty and meaning in art add to the Christian life. In 2012 Biola University celebrated the Year of the Arts with an Art Symposium guest speaker panel including: Elizabeth Lev, Ben Quash, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and David Nystrom.

Dr. David Nystrom began his tenure as Provost and Senior Vice President at Biola University in August 2010, after serving as Vice President for Academic Affairs at William Jessup University in Rocklin, Calif., where he served since 2005. Prior to that, he spent 12 years at North Park University and North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, where he served as professor and chair of biblical and theological studies and Director of the Institute for Christian Studies. He has also taught at Fuller Theological Seminary in an adjunct capacity, where he received his M.Div., and the University of California at Davis, where he received his B.A. and Ph.D. Nystrom's academic background includes expertise in Roman history and the history of Christianity. An award-winning teacher, sought-after speaker, published scholar and effective administrator, Nystrom was viewed as highly qualified to meet the diverse array of challenges that come with the top academic post at a nationally ranked Christian university. Dr. Nystrom has been married to his wife, Kristina, for 28 years and they have an 11-year-old daughter, Annika.

Ben Quash grew up in County Durham and Monmouthshire. He read English as an undergraduate at Cambridge, and then (as a second degree, whilst in training for ordination at Westcott House) theology. Doctoral work on the theological dramatic theory of Hans Urs von Balthasar combined these literary and theological interests. He was Chaplain and Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and a lecturer in the Cambridge Theological Federation from 1996-1999, then returned to Peterhouse as Dean and Fellow until he came to King’s as Professor of Christianity and the Arts in 2007. From 2004-2007 Ben Quash was also Academic Convenor of the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme in the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Divinity, developing research and public education programs in Judaism, Christianity and Islam and their interrelations - and indulging a delight in Scriptural Reasoning.

Elizabeth Lev is an American-born art historian who, while doing graduate work at the University of Bologna, first traveled to Rome to research her thesis on the Church of San Giovanni and Petronio. The Eternal City has been her home ever since. Elizabeth describes herself as “a joyful member of the Rome faculty” at Duquesne University’s Italian Campus program, where she teaches art history. In addition, her services as a guide are in high demand and she has been privileged to accompany many distinguished visitors, including former First Lady Laura Bush, through the Vatican Museums. She also hosted Catholic Canvas, a 10-part television series on the art of the Vatican Museums. Elizabeth has recently completed her first biography, The Tigress of Forli: The Remarkable Story of Caterina Riario Sforza, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Press, October 2011.

Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff is an American philosopher and currently the Noah Porter Emeritus Professor of Philosophical Theology at Yale University. A prolific writer with wide-ranging philosophical and theological interests, he has written books on aesthetics, epistemology, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophy of education. In Faith and Rationality, Wolterstorff, Alvin Plantinga, and William Alston developed and expanded upon a view of religious epistemology that has come to be known as reformed epistemology. He also helped to establish the journal Faith and Philosophy and the Society of Christian Philosophers. Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff regularly teaches lecture courses in philosophy of religion and aesthetics, and seminars in epistemology, hermeneutics, and philosophy of religion. Dr. Wolterstorff received his BA from Calvin College in 1953 and his PhD in philosophy from Harvard University in 1956. After concentrating on metaphysics at the beginning of his career (On Universals), he spent a good many years working primarily on aesthetics and philosophy of art (Works And Worlds Of Art and Art In Action). In more recent years, he has been concentrating on epistemology (John Locke and The Ethics Of Belief and the just published Thomas Reid And The Story Of Epistemology), on philosophy of religion (Divine Discourse and, with Alvin Plantinga, Faith And Rationality), and political philosophy (Until Justice And Peace Embrace and, with Robert Audi, Religion In The Public Square).

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