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The Theater of God's Glory
Calvin, Creation, and the Liturgical Arts
POD; Published: 8/21/2017
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7448-1
Price: $ 33.99
240 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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A theological framework for the liturgical arts rooted in John Calvin

Both detractors and supporters of John Calvin have deemed him an enemy of the physical body, a pessimist toward creation, and a negative influence on the liturgical arts. But, says W. David O. Taylor, that only tells half of the story.

Taylor examines Calvin's trinitarian theology as it intersects his doctrine of the physical creation in order to argue for a positive theological account of the liturgical arts. He does so believing that Calvin's theology can serve, perhaps surprisingly, as a rich resource for understanding the theological purposes of the arts in corporate worship.

Drawing on Calvin's Institutes, biblical commentaries, sermons, catechisms, treatises, and worship orders, this book represents one of the most thorough investigations available of John Calvin's theology of the physical creation—and the promising possibilities it opens up for the formative role of the arts in worship.

John L. Thompson
— Fuller Theological Seminary
“John Calvin is well known for dismissing medieval Roman Catholic liturgical practices as pandering to superstition and idolatry and as distracting the people of God from the purer forms of worship and proclamation that were inaugurated by Christ. In The Theater of God’s Glory, however, David Taylor goes behind the curmudgeonly caricatures of Calvin to offer a nuanced reading and a critical recovery of Calvin’s theology of embodiment as a surprisingly rich resource for contemporary liturgical arts. Taylor’s dialogue with Calvin is judicious and fair, and his proposals admirably extend Calvin’s own concerns for worship that is not only biblical and orderly but also beautiful and joyful.”

Jeremy Begbie
— Duke University
 “At a time when Protestant treatments of the arts tend to be marked by excessive shame and breast-beating, studies like this remind us of treasures easily overlooked. For some, Calvin would be the last theologian from whom we might expect wisdom on the liturgical arts. But David Taylor, with exemplary skill and clarity, shows us otherwise. This is an immensely important study from one of the key leaders in theology and the arts today.”

James K. A. Smith
— Calvin College
 “Drawing on John Calvin’s rich, Trinitarian theology of creation and embodiment, Taylor deconstructs Calvin’s flat—yea, disheartening—dismissal of the liturgical arts, offering a constructive contribution to the conversation between theology and the arts that has important implications for worship renewal in the church.”

Samuel Wells
— St. Martin-in-the-Fields
 “David Taylor’s extraordinary study of Calvin and the liturgical arts consistently surprises and delights. Its greatest strengths are its command of Calvin’s full works, not just the Institutes, and its ability to think with Calvin but far beyond his self-imposed strictures. The result is a more profoundly incarnational Calvin and a more deeply scriptural rendering of the liturgical arts.”