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Richard R. Viladesau

Collins 115

Office Hours: Tuesday 3:00-5:30 PM, Friday 9:30-10:00 AM.


Professor of Theology

S.T.D., Gregorian
S.T.B., S.T.L., Gregorian
B.A., Cathedral College

Systematic theology, fundamental theology




Recently published:

The Triumph of the Cross (Oxford University Press, 2008).

The Beauty of the Cross (Oxford University Press, 2006).

Theological Aesthetics: God in Imagination, Beauty, and Art (Oxford University Press, 1999).

Sinhakchak mihak.  Sasadeyeo, adeum, keudi yeoesul sok eua hananam.  (Korean translation of Theological Aesthetics: God in Imagination, Beauty, and Art.)  (Seoul: Han-Shia-You, 2001).



Theology and the Arts: Encountering God through Music, Art and Rhetoric (Paulist, 2000).


Also Recently published:

From Theological Aesthetics: God in Imagination, Beauty, and Art

"Theological aesthetics," then, as I conceive it, includes both narrative/metaphorical and metaphysical approaches. It comprises both an "aesthetic theology" that interprets the objects of theology -- God, faith, and theology itself -- through the methods of aesthetic studies, and a more narrowly defined "theological aesthetics" that interprets the objects of aesthetics -- sensation, the beautiful, and art -- from the properly theological starting point of religious conversion and in the light of theological methods. Hence "theological aesthetics" in the second, narrower sense, will include the following elements:

1) A theological account of human knowledge on the level of feeling and imagination ("aesthetics" in the sense of Schiller and Kant). The treatment of God and imagination involves the question of metaphor and analogy mentioned briefly above: how can the transcendent God be thought by a human mind that is tied to sensation? A related area is the theology of revelation and its relation to symbolic consciousness. Finally, there is a reflection on theological method: the development of a theological theory of interpretation (both of the Scriptures and of religious experience) that appeals to imagination and art, and the relationship of this hermeneutical task to systematic thought. This "epistemological" form of theological aesthetics explores the relations of symbolic and theoretical consciousness, of hermeneutics to metaphysics, of religious experience to secular reason, of feeling to logical discourse, of beauty to truth.

2) A theology of beauty. This will reflect on the nature of the beautiful in relationship to God and to the "transcendental;" the way in which beauty is a quality of revelation; and the place of "beauty" as a criterion of theological judgment.

3) A theological reflection on art and on the individual arts. This reflection will attempt to understand how the arts can communicate concern-ing the divine; how they can mediate revelation and conversion; and what formal similarities they show to the practice of theology."



"Though the book is offered as an introduction, it is not simply a rehash but presents the transcendental method in a novel and very readable way. Viladesau is to be commended for the care, thoroughness, and elegant style with which he synthesizes a body of knowledge he obviously loves deeply."

"Of special value is the way in which Viladesau weaves together themes from Lonergan and Rahner. Particularly in his discussion of men and women as 'hearers of the word,' V. adds depth to Rahner's treatment by amplification and nuances from Lonergan's Insight, and he puts the two thinkers' ideas together in an original and creative synthesis.... In short, Viladesau has given us a fine summary of one of the most Important strains of modern fundamental theology.... In fact, this is one of the best presentations to date of the philosophy and theology influenced by Marechalian Thomism."  - John F. Haught, in Theological Studies, Vol. 46 #3, Sept. 1985


"The book is competently, at times brilliantly, argued. Viladesau makes good use of his expertise in Christian theology as well as the non-Christian traditions." 

- Winfried Corduan in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, vol. 31, Dec. 1988. 


"Represents an integration of much that has transpired in Catholic theology since Vatican II and a challenging new beginning - as such it will prove an indispensable point of reference for Christological discussion."  -Rev. Robert Imbelli, Boston College


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