Art and religious education: Seeking meaning in the sacred seriousness of art


Bernasconi, Gina. (2006). Art and religious education: Seeking meaning in the sacred seriousness of art [Thesis].
AuthorsBernasconi, Gina
Qualification nameDoctor of Education (EdD)

In relation to the post-compulsory religious education program of a Catholic secondary college for boys, this research study set out to ascertain the role of art as a medium for the self-revelation of God in the linking of aesthetic and religious experience. In other words, this research study proposed to provide a group of students with a space and opportunity for a ‘calling to attend’ experience of God; that is, an experience that was compelling. The theoretical framework called on two types of concepts: first, those related to the theological investigation of revelation and its connection with the aesthetic and religious experience; and secondly, those developed from current educational research and research into Religious Education paradigms. The development of this research study therefore: established the context within which the study was situated; discussed a theological framework from Hans Urs von Balthasar and its links with this research study; examined the theory of Bernard Lonergan that art was a carrier of meaning for religious experience; discussed the role of revelation, aesthetic and religious experience and the religious imagination located within the ‘graced nature’ concept of Catholic theology; and sought to determine the contribution such a learning experience could make to the religious development of post-compulsory students in a boys’ senior secondary college. This study operated within a constructivist paradigm using case study and qualitative research methods. A focus group provided the research instrument for data gathering and included: participant observation; field notes; focus group discussions; and transcript analysis of the taped conversations of participants. The findings of this research study provided direction for further research and practice in post-compulsory religious education classroom program.

PublisherAustralian Catholic University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Research GroupSchool of Religious Education
Final version
Publication dates01 Jan 2006
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