Front Matter


  • Michael Griffith
  • James Tulip


The fourth International Conference on Religion, Literature and the Arts was held in Sydney, Australia, on January 2-6, 1997. The Conference was sponsored by Australian Catholic University, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the School of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney. The Conference brought together scholars and practitioners in literature, history, music, visual arts, film, philosophy, religion studies and theology. A major concern was to highlight the role of the practising artist through forums on the Australian artistic experience, and to visit the outstanding exhibition of paintings and other art works, 'The Spirit of Place', then showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Conference was particularly indebted to the MCA for its interest and support. The theoretical and practical interests came into brilliant focus with a public performance of 'A Grain of Eternity: William Blake in Australia', a project arising from academic research at Australian Catholic University and the University of Sydney and developed in multimedia presentation by actors, singers, dancers, musicians and filmmakers under the direction of Jane Ahlquist. Blake's prophetic poems and images found a new and striking significance in being absorbed into the Australian artistic consciousness. The papers of the Conference here published are a selection from some eighty presentations. The Centre for Studies in Religion, Literature and the Arts is particularly indebted to Dr Mark Byrne for his assistance in preparing the Proceedings for publication.