Item description for Van Gogh and God: A Creative Spiritual Quest (Campion Book) by Cliff Edwards, Henri J. M. Nouwen & Henri J. Nouwem...
Overview Explore the depth of this brilliant and tortured artist's spirituality and find a new Van Gogh--philosopher of life, unorthodox theologian, and determined seeker of global spirituality.
Publishers Description Explore the depth of this brilliant and tortured artist's spirituality and find a new Van Gogh -- philosopher of life, unorthodox theologian, and determine seeker for global spirituality.
Citations And Professional Reviews Van Gogh and God: A Creative Spiritual Quest (Campion Book) by Cliff Edwards, Henri J. M. Nouwen & Henri J. Nouwem has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly - 08/11/1989
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Studio: Loyola Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.02" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.65" Weight: 0.82 lbs.
Release Date Dec 1, 2002
Publisher Loyola Press
ISBN 0829406212 ISBN13 9780829406214
Availability 0 units.
More About Cliff Edwards, Henri J. M. Nouwen & Henri J. Nouwem
Reviews - What do customers think about Van Gogh and God: A Creative Spiritual Quest (Campion Book)?
thoroughly informative and concisely written. good work! Jul 9, 1999
Eventhough my studies do not allow me a great deal of time to read books of my choice, I could not deny the work of Dr. "Cliffy-baby" Edwards. His book, "Van Gogh and God: A Creative Spiritual Quest" was just that. It was, in every sense of the phrase, a creatively spiritual page turner. His language and content captures the reader's mind and by doing so, captures the reader's spiritual core. Once mesmerized by the life, work, and creative madness of the artist, the reader becomes smoothly inundated with the thorough biographical information that Dr. Edwards so eloquently puts to page. At the risk of sounding mildly educated, I had never realized the influence Zen Buddhism had on the artist until reading Dr. Edwards' book. I did, of course, realize the "oriental" aspect of Van Gogh's approach to painting but I never knew of his "Zen Buddhist" approach to living. Sometimes the samurai leaves the monarchy and spends his life in caves painting. Congratulations Dr. E. for a fine work indeed.
Van Gogh and God gives us a glimpse into the artist's soul. Jun 3, 1999
I recently heard the author of Van Gogh and God, Dr. Cliff Edwards, speak about Vincent. At this particular gathering, he also showed wonderful slides of the artist's work. As a result of that encounter with Dr. Edwards and Vincent Van Gogh, I bought Dr. Edwards' warm and accessible book, Van Gogh and God. While reading it, much like the disciples who spoke to Christ without recognizing him on the road to Emmaus, I felt my heart burn within me while Vincent's life opened up before me like a lotus flower. I especially connected with Van Gogh's insistence that he was "not an admirer" of biblical subjects (to paint). Apparently he felt that paintings such as The Nativity and Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane avoided getting to the "reality of things" and gave him "a powerful feeling of collapse instead of progress." To paint biblical material must have felt inauthentic to Vincent as he journeyed on his spiritual quest. Lois Lowry in her book, The Giver, addresses this very issue of authenticity. Jonas, the hero, lives in a community where sameness and conformity are valued. Jonas sees things differently, though, and is chosen to become the one who acts as receptacle and transmitter of the community's collective memory. Jonas receives these memories/stories from the Giver, someone who currently has the task of holding memory. One of the questions the book raises in the reader's mind is, "When does a story become MY story?" People in Jonas' community lived without authenticity because the locus of memory was institutionalized within an individual. I couldn't help but think that Vincent, striving for authenticity, wanted to show that those sacred memories (institutionalized in the Church and in biblical paintings) gave him "a powerful feeling of collapse instead of progress." For a story (either word or image) to have meaning, it must first connect with an individual's experience. Vincent Van Gogh, like Jonas, saw things differently. Both struggled in a world that would have preferred their acquiesence to the status quo. Dr. Edwards convincingly shows that Vincent imaged God outside the parameters and conventions of the Church. Dr. Edwards suggests that "[p]erhps such profound power revealed through one's life task was a more accurate description of the divine than the word 'God.' " Another powerful image is "the child in a cradle as best evidence for God." As Dr. Edwards points out, "Vincent experiences God in the concreteness of his own most intense and significant personal history." We all do. Vincent found meaning in his life's work, his care and concern for the prostitute Sien, her daughter, and newborn son, and also in nature--wheat, flowers, olive groves, cypress trees. To image and paint a Christ that has no personal connection is, again, to live inauthentically. It would appear that Vincent would have none of that. One of my favorite parts in Dr. Edwards' book is in the Preface. "[M]ost Judeo-Christian scholars...[take] the unyielding position that religion must be expressed primarily as hearing and obeying, and cannot be expressed significantly as seeing and creating. Dr. Edwards shows how Vincent navigated those waters. It gives hope to those of us who have felt stifled by the Church's insistence that memory/story resides within its embrace.
This book completely misleads the reader about van Gogh. Feb 6, 1999
The author misleads the reader by perpetuating two myths about van Gogh's religious life 1) that he was raised Calvinist and 2) that he was Buddist. If the author had taken the time to research van Gogh's biography, he would have found that van Gogh's family rejected Calvinism entirely, particularly the notions of sin and limited salvation, for a more liberal theology, favoring universal salvation and the belief that God dwells within us all. The author continues his false representation of van Gogh by arguing that he became a Buddist after he left the Christian ministry. This is based on one simple painting that van Gogh made for his friend, Gauguin, with his head shaven like a Buddist monk. Although van Gogh was thoroughly fascinated with Oriental culture, he never visted the Far East, never studied Buddism, nor did he show any real understanding of its basic ideas. In fact, all he learned of Asian culture and religion came from what he saw in the Japanese woodblock prints that came into Europe in the late 19th century and also what he garnered from reading 19th century French novels. Mr. Edwards only clouds our understanding of van Gogh with his own personal interests. For example, his discussion of van Gogh's famous work, "Crows over the Wheatfield," reads "The painting itself enters the mode of being of all things in their impermanence yet transformation, becoming a koan that poses the Zen Master's question: 'If you call this wheat you cling to it; if you do not call it wheat you depart from the facts, so what do you call it then?'" (What does this have to do with van Gogh?) The reader is best to stay away from this book entirely.