Cleo McNelly Kearns
While a literary and critical modernism seems on the surface independent of and at times oblivious to theological modernism, the modernist stances taken by major twentieth-century artists and writers raise theological issues and concerns with which they are very much engaged. These issues are incarnated in their stylistic and formal innovations as well as in their range of interests, often sensitive as well as challenging to conservative and orthodox understandings of Christianity and prescient with respect to problems to come. These include problems of comparative religion, esotericism, spiritualism, and pagan and natural theology, as well as questions of politics, ethics, and revolutionary change. Engagement with these matters did not prevent many moderns from finding their way towards religion, Christian and otherwise, on terms both new and old.
This chapter reviews the origin and development of the word Shintō as well as the basic beliefs, practices, and objects of worship associated with the religion. It then describes the emergence and development of plastic representations of objects of worship (sculpture) and permanent structures for worship (architecture). Shintō’s development in conjunction with mainland developments is stressed as well as the homogenizing influences of government control and modern training institutions.