The Creative Gift, Dürer, Dada and Desolation Row, PB (vol3)

ISBN 978 1909281 82 0
534 pages.
Published 4/4/2021


Paperback, PDF

Art and Entertainment;  The Creative Gift; Articles on history, faith and culture, lifestyle, scholarship, and the Westminster discussions 

Through his early work, Art and Entertainment (1962), made available in English for the first time in this volume, and through The Creative Gift, a collection of essays put together shortly before his death in 1977, Rookmaaker speaks with a clear voice of expertise, faith and wisdom as he shepherds the reader through the bewildering jungle of art and popular culture. As a cultural analyst Rookmaaker anticipated the postmodern erasure of the split between high and low culture and pointed out guidelines for a meaningful involvement in both. The additional articles and discussions in this volume address the Christian calling to engage in a fruitful and wise way in the culture of the present day – focusing especially on the media, science and art history.

The Complete Works of Hans Rookmaaker

Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker is editor-in-chief of ArtWay,, an online service and resource in Dutch and English about the visual arts and faith for individuals and congregations. She did her studies in musicology at the University of Amsterdam, complemented with minors in art history and liturgical studies at the Free University in Amsterdam. For many years she has worked as a freelance editor, translator and writer. She edited the Complete Works of her father, art historian Hans Rookmaaker, contributed to books, and wrote articles about popular music, liturgy, and the visual arts. She was editor of a Dutch book of visual meditations for Lent (2012) and co-authored a Dutch handbook for art in the church (2015). In 2019 she co-curated the Art Stations of the cross in Amsterdam. She lives in Langbroek in the Netherlands.

“These essays represent the finest Christian thinking in the area of art and creativity. Until his death recently, Dr. Rookmaaker was known as a scholar of the highest caliber, and as a man of deep Christian commitment.The publication of this book confirms and extends this reputation.”

Dr Francis A. Schaeffer, L’Abri, on publication in 1981 of The Creative Gift

List of Plates x

Acknowledgments xi

Part I:Art and Entertainment

Acknowledgments to the Original Edition 3

1 Crisis and the Bible 5 Crisis in the orthodox Christian world (7); Crisis in contemporary culture (10); Apocalypse (14); The Bible today (15)

2 The Meaning of Art and Entertainment in Human Life 19 Entertainment (19); Norms in the choice of our entertainment (21) What does our own level depend on? (24) Entertainment? (26); Our wisdom in the discussion with and about art (28); The importance of art for life (29); Works of art in relation to reality (32); A landscape by Jan van Goyen (38); Jan Steen’s St Nicholas morning (41)

3 Art and our Life and World View 43 Art, the spirit of the times and the artist’s attitude to life (51); Lifestyle and art (56); Sense of reality and art (58); What does the development in art since the seventeenth century teach us? (60)

4 Norms for Art and Entertainment 75 Whatever is true … (78); Whatever is noble … (87); Whatever is right … (91); Whatever is pure … (92); Whatever is lovely … (100); If there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy … (104)

5 Norms in our Association with Art 105 How shall we judge concretely? (105); No prescriptions are given (107); The lesson of Colossians 2 (111); Our life in freedom (114); There is much to enjoy (119); Why we must involve ourselves with art and entertainment (122); Sojourners (123); Our freedom and our effort (124); Conclusion (128)

Part II:The Creative Gift

Introduction to the First Edition: The Centre of History 135

Part One: Being a Christian in a Broken World

1 Our Calling in God’s Creation 139 God’s hand in history (139); Human work in history (140); Freedom and authority (148); The easy-chair mentality (150); The Christian’s task (153)

2 Our Calling in Culture 155 Christianity and culture – a false dichotomy (155); Defining ‘culture’ (156); The Christian’s participation in culture (158)

Part Two: Freedom within a Framework

3 Creativity in Love and Freedom 167 Christ the Creator – made in his image (167); Christ the Redeemer – his restored purpose (170); True humanness in Christ (175)

4 Authority and Permissiveness 181 What has happened to authority? (181); Who solves the problems in a normless society (183); The age of permissiveness (185); The Christian minority (188)

5 Art and Freedom – Buñuel and the Bible 190 A message of absurdity (190); Freedom and art (195)

6. Does Art Need Justification? 204 A new secular religion? (204); A hedonistic pastime? (206); A gift

of God? (207)

Appendix: Letter to a Christian Artist 209

Part Three: Creative Sharing of the Gospel

7 Communicating the Gospel to Modern People 215 Our point of contact (215); Some basic questions (223); Principles of personal evangelism (228); The danger of Christian utilitarianism (234); What is an evangelist? (234)

8 Dürer’s Apocalypse: An Artist’s Message to his Contemporaries 237

Part III:Articles on History, Faith and Culture, Lifestyle,

and Scholarship, and the Westminster Discussions

The Constituent Factors of a Historical Deed 247

1 World order (257); 2 The situation (270); 3 The personality (285); 4 World view (292); Epilogue (305) Summary: the constituent factors of a historical deed (308) Faith and Culture 314 On being salt that salts (314); Faith and culture (319); Christianity and culture: a reply (335); Affluence, the welfare state and culture (337); Some comments on the culture state (360); Youth in revolt, youth in trouble: who’s to blame? (368) Faith and Lifestyle 375 Art and lifestyle (375); Art and entertainment on radio and television (385); On Art and Entertainment: a response letter (403) The Westminster Discussions: Faith, Art, Culture and Lifestyle 407 What is art (407); Learning to see (411); Judging works of art (414); Certainty (415); Can we use modern and abstract forms? (423); Christian art (427); On portraying God and Christ (430); Art and mission (433); Christianity and culture (435); Nudity (444); Television and film (455) Faith and Scholarship 460 Gird your minds for action and keep sober in the Spirit (460); Book review: Kalsbeek, Faith and Science (476); The method of art history (479); Depth and breadth of art history (481); Art history at the Free University of Amsterdam (491); Interview by art history students from the Free University (496)

Notes to Volume 3 503