Bone Dead, and Rising: Vincent Van Gogh and the Self before God

Davidson is the person to craft that kind of an appreciation of this incredible artist's ordeal; and its phenomenal productivity in art as the expression of a tortured psyche and a suffering soul. The book is as much a volume of poignant poetry as of delightfully crafted prose.


This lovely volume is such a definitive description of van Gogh that all future research on this artist will need to begin and end in the profound insights and the poetic expressions of Charles Davidson. Moreover, the book is beautifully presented by the publisher, with 33 prints of van Gogh's paintings and photos of his family members, a full color painting on the front cover, an excellent bibliography, and indexes of subjects, scripture references, and all of van Gogh's paintings.

Here we have consummate and definitive scholarship that reads like a novel. Chapters five and six are heavy going through the usual psychoanalytical swamps one must navigate in a study like this, but otherwise once you have taken up this volume it is impossible to put the book down. Journal of Psychology and Christianity Date: Readers will discover that in many ways Vincent's story is as much about us as about him. Tracing van Gogh's pilgrimage from being an apprentice art dealer to being called to minister, in self-renunciation and misery, among destitute coal miners, the narrative follows his winding, tortuous path into adulthood as he struggles with family, associates, lovers--and with himself.

Constantly evidenced in Vincent's own eloquent words and paintings is his tussle with the mysterious presence and maddening absence of God. Vocation unveils as a process of summoning and birthing his own self, through an attempt to imitate Christ, calling forth van Gogh's extraordinary creative powers from deep within.

Adding choice supplies from other observers, Davidson here weaves his own exact, artful tapestry of interpretation, producing a suspenseful excursion into the life of van Gogh that offers profound meaning at every turn. The flow of the narrative and the presence of theological and psychological motifs help us re-vision the artist in a postmodern framework that opens new and creative channels for understanding.

It accomplishes this in amazingly varied fashion and unpretentious, religious depth. It is remarkably attuned to, and mostly uses, Vincent's own strikingly honest, poetic statements in company with some of Vincent's paintings.

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In the process, it interprets both with every conceivably appropriate tool, drawing in others' profoundly insightful responses to Vincent with the author's own. From beginning to end, Charles Davidson--pastor, teacher, clinician, poet, musician, and scholar--has created, reflectively, a rare, simply magnificent portrayal. Any attentive reader who has known either deprivation or struggle in life can find here a healing love and joy.

Tice editor of Hermann Peiter's collected essays, Christian Ethics According to Schleiermacher, and translator of Friederich Schleiermacher's Christmas Eve Celebration "Bone Dead, and Rising is a psychologically and theologically incisive analysis of the life and work, the psyche and spirituality of Vincent Van Gogh. It is difficult to imagine that the artist himself would have missed the magnitude and worthiness of this verbally artistic rendering. Read more Read less. Kindle Cloud Reader Read instantly in your browser. Product details File Size: March 28, Sold by: Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video.

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Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I enjoyed this book in great part because I let my computer read the first half to me and the rhythm and poetry of the text is more evident when hear out loud. I recommend this book, but would encourage the reader to read the major biographies first.

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This wasn't an easy read, but with reading. You don't have to be a theologian or artist to appreciate this book. I am neither, and I found it to be a masterful, compelling work that kept me turning pages and left me feeling enriched and enlightened. Frederick Buechner has called it "essential reading" for all of us who consider van Gogh to have been one of the geniuses of his time.

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For more reviews and other information, see the book's website, [ Author Charles Davidson melds scholarship with elegant prose to produce a provocative portrait of the great artist. In an engaging, never-pedantic style, he sheds light on Vincent -- the artist, the man, the minister, the brother, the lover.

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We read about his tumultuous relationship with his parents, his profound bond with his brother Theo their years of correspondence provide ample material here , his liaisons with women, his undying passion for Nature. The purity of a faith that led van Gogh to live among and minister to impoverished coal miners fired his creative vision but could not deliver him from suffering. Part Two is called "The Artist within the Art"; both most aptly named. The specific thrust of this analysis of Van Gogh's ordeal emphasises that the artist's struggle with life is readily understandable given the uncompromising spirit of his quest for authenticity; and the false, inauthentic, and self-aggrandising values of his church, society, and culture.

Davidson implies that any one of us with the creativity and courage of Van Gogh, the sensitivity and authenticity of his spirit, subjected to the same compromising pressures, would have the same reaction of ambivalence, alienation, rejection, and identification with those disenfranchised by the religious and secular culture of the time. Van Gogh, like Frost, had a 'lover's quarrel with his world'; but he was not as pragmatically American as Robert Frost. Van Gogh was Dutch: He desperately needed the love, endorsement, affirmation, esteem, and support of his family, church, and society, but he would not buy it at the cost of what he considered to be any concession that compromised the utter integrity of his personal faith and value system.

Bone Dead and Rising, Vincent Van Gogh and the Self Before God.

This life at cross-grain to all that everyone else seemed to stand for and insist upon often placed Van Gogh in what looked like quasi-psychotic postures. Perhaps he had some episodes in which he crossed the line into active psychosis. In contrast to the history of research that assigns Van Gogh to sainthood Postema, Space for God or insanity most psychoanalytic evaluations , Davidson is sensitive about the fine line that lies between the profound humans suffering of a soul in the distress of grief beyond our imagination, deprivation beyond what we are willing to face straight on, loneliness that is inexpressible, alienation and rejection beyond redemption, on the one hand, and toying around the edges of psychosis, on the other.

Where is psychic pain so indescribable that coping with it looks like a slide into alternative reality? None of us can know that unless we have been there and done that. In that place of human extremity labels are easy.

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Here is a vivid, poetic, and evocative story of the painter Vincent van Gogh's struggle to become his true self. The author listens in on Vincent s most intimate, . Editorial Reviews. Review. This richly detailed and deeply felt account of van Gogh's tormented and self-tormenting life, together with many telling quotations.

Authentic descriptive definitions are impossible.