Reformed Theology and Visual Culture: The Protestant Imagination from Calvin to Edwards

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With the walls of their churches bereft of imagery and colour and their worship centered around sermons with carefully constructed outlines (as opposed to movement and drama), Reformed Protestants have often been accused of being dour and unimaginative. Here, William Dyrness explores the roots of Reformed theology in an attempt to counteract these prevailing notions. Studying sixteenth-century Geneva and England, seventeenth-century England and Holland and seventeenth and eighteenth-century Puritan New England, Dyrness argues that, though this tradition impeded development of particular visual forms, it encouraged others, especially in areas of popular culture and the ordering of family and community. Exploring the theology of John Calvin, William Ames, John Cotton and Jonathan Edwards, Dyrness shows how this tradition created a new aesthetic of simplicity, inwardness and order to express underlying theological commitments. With over forty illustrations, this book will prove invaluable to those interested in the Reformed tradition.