Knapp, Lore: Religious Experience as Aesthetic Experience, in Dorpmüller, Sabine et al. (Hrsg.): Religion and Aesthetic Experience: Drama—Sermons—Literature, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2018 (Heidelberg Studies on Transculturality, Band 4), S. 31–46. https://doi.org/10.17885/heiup.416.c5911

Identifier (Buch)

ISBN 978-3-947732-02-9 (Softcover)
ISBN 978-3-947732-01-2 (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-3-947732-03-6 (PDF)




Lore Knapp

Religious Experience as Aesthetic Experience

Abstract The starting point of this article is the observation that some definitions of aesthetic experience are based on metaphors from religion or ritual theory. One notable example is Erika Fischer-Lichte’s definition of aesthetic experience as liminal experience. She divides experiences into aesthetic, where the journey itself is the goal, and non-aesthetic, where the experience is a route to faith and belief. Fischer-Lichte’s theory is described here so as to reflect on how religious experience in general could be categorised as part of a broader concept of aesthetic experience. Furthermore, this paper describes how existing concepts of aesthetic and religious experience have many structural and functional parallels, and how distinguishing between aesthetic and religious experience becomes particularly difficult if art is seen as a transcendent principle, i.e. one that is barely distinguishable from the bases of monotheistic theologies. This view of art becomes relevant when the sublime is discussed as a feature of objects.