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How Should Christians Be Stewards of Art? A Response to Calvin Seerveld

Controversy

Abstract

In my previous essay I argue in favor of a realist view of art and show how these same arguments answer the question of stewardship. In Calvin Seerveld’s reply, he offers a number of his own conditions for Christian stewardship of art. I identify at least six:

1. Christian art should display a redemptive spirit.
2. Christian art should bring aesthetic blessings to one’s fellow man.
3. Christian art should bring hope to one’s neighbor.
4. Christian art should be imaginative.
5. Christian art should stir the imagination of others.
6. Christian art should display artistic finesse.

Amid these conditions is a threefold ambiguity, to wit, Seerveld (a) does not explain from whence these conditions come or how they are grounded; (b) whether these conditions must be met by the artwork, the artist, or both; and (c) whether these conditions, when met, constitute real properties of that by which they are met. The importance of these ambiguities becomes clear when considering two possible readings of Seerveld.


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