Transcendence and the Visual: Seeing Biblical and Theological Dimensions of Contemporary Art


  • Doug Adams


In teaching courses on Jesus' parable to university students in Toronto, James Breech was troubled as each student persisted in seeing himself or herself in every parable. Finally, Breech said to them, "Some of these parables are not about you, they are about other people. There are other people in the world". Breech's students exemplified the modernist problem characterised in Yeat's words, "Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold". In modernism, the centre was everywhere, the circumference nowhere: i.e. each person had become his or her own centre. In that condition, the student loses capacity to see the other as other; and in poet Hart Crane's words, "each sees only his dim past reversed".