That’s What it’s All About: Performance, Interpretation, and Formation
William K. and Delores S. Berhm Chair of Worship, Theology and the Arts
Fuller Theological Seminary
The talk will center on ritual theories that liturgists have used as a means of interpreting liturgies for decades. The fruits of interpreting Christian worship as a ritual performance has yielded a generation of interpretation and assessment, leading to liturgical critique and change. But have ritual theories been applied adequately? Have ritual interpretations focused upon the quantitative nature of ritual while ignoring the qualitative aspects? Using Aristotle’s categories of poeisis and techne as starting points, this presentation will explore the application of performance theory to ritual interpretation, examining not just what a ritual actor does, but how a ritual actor does a ritual action. It will also explore the recent research on the necessity of performance art in human formation.
Todd E. Johnson (Ph.D. University of Notre Dame) is the Brehm Chair of Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he is the lead professor in the new PhD concentration in Christian Worship. Johnson also serves as the Theological Director of the Brehm Center. Todd’s recent works include Performing the Sacred: Theology and Theatre in Dialogue (Baker 2009), Common Worship in Theological Education (Pickwick 2010), and the multimedia resource Living Worship (Brazos Press, 2010). An ordained minister, Johnson is Vice-President of the Liturgical Conference and serves on the editorial board of Questions Liturgiques.