Frank Burch Brown, Frederick Doyle Kershner Professor of Religion and the Arts, is a teacher, author and musician. Brown holds degrees from Georgetown College and the University of Chicago, where he earned a PhD degree in Religion and Literature. He is author of many articles and of five books: Transfiguration: Poetic Metaphor and the Languages of Religious Belief (University of North Carolina Press, 1983); The Evolution of Darwin’s Religious Views (Mercer University Press, 1986); Religious Aesthetics (Princeton University Press, 1993); the award-winning Good Taste, Bad Taste, and Christian Taste: Aesthetics in Religious Life; and Inclusive yet Discerning: Navigating Worship Artfully (Eerdmans, 2009).
Brown served for four years as editor in Arts, Media, Culture & Religion for a new edition (German and English) of the eight-volume encyclopedia Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Religion Past and Present). A contributor of a chapter on music to the Oxford Handbook of Religion and Emotion, ed. John Corrigan (2008) and another on aesthetics, arts, and natural theology for the Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology, ed. Russell Re Manning et al. (Oxford Univ. Press, 2013), he is editor of, and contributor to, the 600-page Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts, forthcoming from Oxford University Press in both print and online editions in 2013.
Brown has been choral director, keyboard artist and composer for various churches. His 20 commissioned works include “Mary with Jesus,” commissioned in 2005 by the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, and “Ritual Compass” for piano, oboe, violin and cello, commissioned by the American Academy of Religion for its 75th anniversary celebration. His composition Four Loves, for the same instruments, has been performed at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
Brown was appointed a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology for 1996-1997 in the area of Theology and the Arts. He was a Visiting Fellow/Scholar in the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University for the fall term, 2000. In fall 2003, he was the Henry Luce Visiting Professor of Theology and Art at St. John’s University School of Theology-Seminary in Collegeville, Minnesota. For three of the four spring terms between 2008 and 2011, he was the Alexander Campbell Visiting Professor of Religion and the Arts at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Brown gave the 1993 Walter Hussey Lecture in the Church and the Arts at Oxford University. Since 1987, he has been a Fellow of the Society for the Arts, Religion, and Contemporary Culture and on the Board of the Society for Arts, Religion, and Theological Studies.
Fond of travel in the USA and abroad, he also looks for opportunities to hike and fish.