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Vanderbilt University

1. Steele, Amy Elizabeth. The Mystical Aesthetic: Howard Thurman and the Art of Meaning.

Degree: PhD, Religion, 2012, Vanderbilt University

This dissertation explores the ways in which religious experience is supported by aesthetic structures in the works of Howard Washington Thurman, twentieth century mystic, scholar of religion, poet and pastor. I theorize the mystical aesthetic and then show how it under-girds Thurman’s understanding of black expressive culture, namely in his interpretation of the spirituals and through his preaching. I explore the artistry of the mystical aesthetic and how it is reconstituted for public purposes. In sum, Thurman’s writing about mystical experience is no mere description, but intentional display. His work is an invitation to experience the religious. Thurman’s mystical aesthetic is not an escape from the ethical life but rather a compulsion toward it. Advisors/Committee Members: Dr. Lewis V. Baldwin (committee member), Dr. John S. McClure (committee member), Dr. Ted A. Smith (committee member), Dr. Victor Anderson (Committee Chair).

Subjects/Keywords: spirituals; black religious studies; pragmatic theology; aesthetics; mysticism

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APA · Chicago · MLA · Vancouver · CSE | Export to Zotero / EndNote / Reference Manager

APA (6th Edition):

Steele, A. E. (2012). The Mystical Aesthetic: Howard Thurman and the Art of Meaning. (Doctoral Dissertation). Vanderbilt University. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1803/11936

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Steele, Amy Elizabeth. “The Mystical Aesthetic: Howard Thurman and the Art of Meaning.” 2012. Doctoral Dissertation, Vanderbilt University. Accessed April 11, 2021. http://hdl.handle.net/1803/11936.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Steele, Amy Elizabeth. “The Mystical Aesthetic: Howard Thurman and the Art of Meaning.” 2012. Web. 11 Apr 2021.

Vancouver:

Steele AE. The Mystical Aesthetic: Howard Thurman and the Art of Meaning. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Vanderbilt University; 2012. [cited 2021 Apr 11]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/1803/11936.

Council of Science Editors:

Steele AE. The Mystical Aesthetic: Howard Thurman and the Art of Meaning. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Vanderbilt University; 2012. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/1803/11936

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