Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Jeremy Elliott

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Cole Bennett

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Jason Gray


The subfield of art criticism and theory within Christian reformational philosophy, a descendent of the neo-Calvinist theology developed through the work of Dutch Reformer Abraham Kuyper and others, is becoming increasingly diverse. Recently, scholars such as Leland Ryken, Glenda Faye Mathes, and Philip Graham Ryken have built upon twentieth-century theologian Francis Schaeffer’s worldview approach by popularizing a transcendental model of art criticism, an approach that applies the transcendentals of truth, goodness, and beauty to works of art. However, the transcendentals, while widely discussed in the fields of philosophy, theology, and, to a lesser extent, art theory, have not been explicitly applied to a literary work or evaluated for their effectiveness as a methodology for literary criticism. This thesis addresses that gap in the literature by modeling, analyzing, and critiquing an application of the transcendental model to Albert Camus’s The Stranger, adapted from Leland Ryken’s analysis of the novel. Drawing upon my own analysis and critiques from authors like Calvin Seerveld and Nicholas Wolterstorff, I argue that although the transcendental model offers inexperienced Christian readers an accessible method by which they can develop literary analysis skills while assimilating their Christian faith, it is not a viable self-sufficient method of literary criticism due to its narrow scope and restrictive structure. Further research may profitably model original applications of the transcendental model to other literary works or consider the transcendental model’s potential to be hybridized with other literary theories or restructured so as to better meet the demands of complex literary texts.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.