DITA10 was a three-day symposium celebrating the ten year anniversary of the establishment of Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts (DITA) at Duke Divinity School. This first and only DITA conference featured conversations with leading scholars, the Vatican and artists, workshops for church leaders, inspiring corporate worship, an interactive concert featuring musicians from the top orchestras in the nation, and a colloquium for emerging scholars.
Thank you to everyone who made DITA10 possible.
Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts (DITA) promotes a vibrant interplay between Christian theology and the arts by encouraging transformative leadership and enriching theological discussion in the Church, academy, and society.
The initiative was established in 2009 at Duke Divinity School by its current director, Dr. Jeremy Begbie, a leading voice in the conversation between faith and the arts. Since then, DITA has established graduate-level courses in theology and the arts, a bi-annual distinguished lecture series, an artist-in-residence program, concerts and exhibitions, and major trans-Atlantic collaboration with the University of Cambridge. In addition, the initiative supports the work of doctoral students and a post-doctoral associate.
Through these programs, DITA promotes and encourages rigorous scholarly work and effective, imaginative teaching that fosters the biblical vision of a new creation in Jesus Christ. DITA shows how the arts can be powerful media of theological truth.
N.T. Wright asked how the biblical vision of Creation and New Creation can inspire us to imagine the future of theology’s interaction with the arts.
A Breakfast Conversation with N.T. Wright
Drawing on the conversations of DITA10, world-renowned biblical scholar N.T. Wright asked how the biblical vision of Creation and New Creation can inspire us to imagine the future of theology’s interaction with the arts. N.T. Wright was joined by DITA Director Jeremy Begbie.
Jeremy Begbie led an ensemble of over forty musicians from America’s top orchestras.
The Sounds of New Creation
Musician and theologian Jeremy Begbie led an ensemble of over forty musicians from America’s top orchestras. With music from Bach to Bernstein, Rachmaninoff to Latino, medieval to jazz, concert music to film music, this event featured a reflection by N.T. Wright, and performances by violinist Rachel Yonan, German Jazz saxophonist Uwe Steinmetz, and dancer Leah Glenn.
What role do the arts play in the midst of life’s most difficult questions?
DITA Director Jeremy Begbie looked back over the last ten years and looked ahead to the shape of things to come.
New Creation in Theology & the Arts
To introduce the conference, DITA Director Jeremy Begbie looked back over the last ten years and looked ahead to the shape of things to come, in light of the biblical vision of New Creation. He was joined by the distinguished soprano, Awet Andemicael.
Poet and author Christian Wiman and Professor Lauren Winner ask how does poetry participate in the work of theology and what does theology offer the work of making and receiving poetry.
with Christian Wiman and Lauren Winner
How does poetry participate in the work of theology? What does theology offer the work of making and receiving poetry? What might poets and theologians need to learn from each other? Poet and author Christian Wiman and Professor Lauren Winner will touch on these questions in their conversation together. After an introduction to his work, Wiman will offer a reading of his poetry. The session will conclude with a discussion between Wiman and Winner about particular poems that speak powerfully to these questions.
How can Christians justify making and enjoying art in a world where people die of starvation and curable diseases? Is art a luxury Christians can no longer afford? Is it, in other words, waste?
Art, Excess, and Human Need
How can Christians justify making and enjoying art in a world where people die of starvation and curable diseases? Is art a luxury Christians can no longer afford? Is it, in other words, waste? Natalie Carnes approached these questions by outlining the demands of Christian asceticism. Drawing on theologies of creation and eschatology, she argued that Christianity offers a radically different understanding of waste than one prevalent in contemporary culture—one that points to the importance of art in a world of need, even as art retains a family relationship to poverty.
Malcolm Guite and Judith Wolfe explore the works of Lewis and Tolkien and how both of them looked beyond the present order towards “a new heaven and a new earth.”
Creation and New Creation in the Work of Lewis and Tolkien
Lewis and Tolkien both wrote works that celebrate the beauty of creation and reflect on the links between divine and human creativity. Both of them also looked beyond the present order towards “a new heaven and a new earth.” But among shared themes and convictions, they also had profound differences of approach to both these themes. Malcolm Guite and Judith Wolfe explored these themes and drew out these differences in conversation with one another and with the key texts.
Artist Steve Prince took participants on a visual arts journey through history utilizing the cathartic nature of the New Orleans jazz Funerary tradition as a philosophy for grappling with issues circulating around faith, race, and social justice. This seminar featured a performance by choreographer and dancer, Professor Leah Glenn, of her original work “The Youngest of Nine.”
What happens when a painter at le Louvre, a poet, and a composer work together to try and discern the hidden image of God in all of us?
Jennifer Allen Craft addressed the ways that the arts draw us into more loving perception of and practice within the natural environment, along with revealing the vocation of placemaking that all humans share.
Micheal O’Siadhail introduced and read from his award-winning book of poetry, The Five Quintets, joined by Professor Richard Hays and Jeremy Begbie.
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DITA10 was generously underwritten by the McDonald Agape Foundation.
Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts (DITA) is an initiative of Duke Divinity School.