Announcing Transpositions’ Online Symposium: The Life and Work of Hans Rookmaaker

We are pleased to announce that Transpositions will be hosting its first online symposium next week (Feb 28 – Mar 5).  We have chosen to focus on the life and work of Hans Rookmaaker (1922-1977), one of the most seminal voices for Christianity’s engagement with the arts in the twentieth century.  His birthday is on February 27, and falls on the Sunday before our symposium begins.  Hans Rookmaaker has played in invaluable role in both developing a Christian framework for engagement with the arts, and encouraging careful, critical approaches to the arts.  His influence is felt most particularly in the way that many Christians today approach modern art, especially in response to his well-known book Modern Art and the Death of a Culture.

The schedule for the week is an exciting one.  We have received contributions from four scholars who know Rookmaaker’s work very well.  Our hope is that these posts will make Rookmaaker’s work more accessible to our readers, and that they will raise awareness about such an important figure in twentieth century Christian thought.  Here is the line-up:

Monday & Tuesday: Dr. E. John Walford introduces us to Rookmaaker’s thought in a systematic and inspiring way with his posts “Hans Rookmaaker’s ‘Four Freedoms’ and Christian Art” (Part I and Part II).  John Walford is Professor of Art History at Wheaton College, Illinois, where he has taught since 1981.  He is author of Jacob van Ruisdael and the Perception of Landscape (Yale University Press, 1991), and Great Themes in Art (Prentice-Hall, 2002).

Wednesday: Dr. Taylor Worley, in his post “Hans Rookmaaker: Celebrating the Creational Grace of Art,” gives us a picture of the broader context of twentieth century Christian engagement with the arts by contrasting Rookmaaker’s approach to Paul Tillich’s.  Worley is Assistant Professor of Christian Thought and Tradition and Associate Dean for Spiritual Life at Union University.

Thursday: Dr. James Romaine reflects on the various ways that Rookmaaker’s vision has shaped his understanding of himself as a Christian and art historian in his post. “The Legacy of Hans Rookmaaker: ‘So What?'”  James Romaine is a New York based art historian. He is the co-founder of the Association of Scholars of Christianity in the History of Art (ASCHA).  He is an Associate Professor of art history and chair of the department of art history at Nyack College.

Friday & Saturday: Laurel Gasque will offer some reasons why Rookmaaker needs to be separated intellectually from his friend, Francis Schaeffer, in her post “Hans Rookmaaker and Francis Schaeffer.” Then, on Saturday, she will shed some light on “Hans Rookmaaker’s Relevance for Today.”  Laurel is the Associate Editor of ArtWay and the author of Rookmaaker’s biography, Art and the Christian Mind: The Life and Work of H.R. Rookmaaker. She is also sessional lecturer in theology and the arts at Regent College, Vancouver, B.C. and adjunct professor of art history at Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C., Canada.

Image: Wikimedia Commons


  • kjbake01 says:

    Sweet! (wait, that’s not very academic. let me try again). By Jove! That’s significant. I applaud your efforts, and shall endeavor to make myself available.

  • Cole Matson says:

    Looking forward to this!

  • Judy Tedford Deaton says:

    very interesting…

  • Peter S Smith says:

    Looking forward to what you all have to say.

  • Jim Watkins says:

    Thanks everyone for your enthusiasm regarding the upcoming symposium. Its going to be a great week on Transpositions!

  • Josh says:

    Hans Rookmaaker has such revolutionary insight and brilliant writing skills. Piquant Editions managed to produce the full works in Hardback and on CD- worth having a look at. Hope that helps make him more accessible too. Fantastic idea for a symposium. Well done TRANSPOSITIONS!

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