Beyond Belief: Theoaesthetics or Just Old-Time Religion? explores the possible reemergence of a theological dimension to contemporary art. Long estranged from symbol and sacrament, contemporary artists--and those who think and write about them--seem to have turned once again to a vision rooted in the sacred. In an era marked culturally by world-weary cynicism and self-conscious irony, a new ""humanism"" may be emerging, one which aims to move beyond fragmentation and opposition to integration and unification. The aim of this book is not to propose a resurgence of religious iconography, but rather to give voice to long-suppressed--often maligned, and certainly professionally risky--positions informed by and reverberating with themes of the sacred. The essays included here, by a range of scholars working on these issues today, originated as a lively and spirited session of the 2008 College Art Association annual conference. ""Beyond Belief ventures courageously into the aporia between the contemporary art world and religious faith. Its authors lament the widespread distrust among contemporary artists and critics of religious themes, identifying intellectual blindness fueling this distrust, but also listening carefully for muffled cries for the return of the sacred. The collection is a delightful mix of fresh, critical perspectives, built upon a unified vision that re-roots the creative human act in the transcendent. We need this book to remind us what art might do for our souls."" --Charles Pinches Professor of Theology University of Scranton ""Oh, how I welcome this book. It shines a light in the darkness of our critical debate on contemporary Art and Aesthetics. I find myself feeling strangely at home reading these essays, as if the world has been restored to it's right and proper axis. For this I am grateful and hopeful. Grateful that the conversation has begun and hopeful that it is just the beginning . . . This book will challenge postmodern critics and artists alike, prodding us forward to reevaluate our beliefs and aesthetics."" --Bo Bartlett Artist and PEW Fellow Ronald R. Bernier is Assistant Professor of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Management at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the author of Monument, Moment, and Memory: Monet's Cathedral in Fin-de-Siecle France (2007).