Music can answer questions that often confound more discursive modes of thought. Music takes concepts that are all too familiar, reframes these concepts, and returns them to us with incisive clarity and renewed vision. Unity is one of these ""all too familiar concepts,"" thrown around by politicians, journalists, and pastors as if we all know what it means. By turning to music, especially musical space, the relational structure of unity becomes less abstract and more tangible within our philosophy. Arnold Schoenberg, as an inherently musical thinker, is our guide in this study of unity. His reworking of musical structure, dissonance, and metaphysics transformed the tonal language and aesthetic landscape of twentieth-century music. His philosophy of compositional unity helps us to deconstruct and reconceive how unity can be understood and worked with both aesthetically and theologically. This project also critiques Schoenberg's often monadic musical metaphysic by turning to Colin Gunton's conviction that the particularity and unity at the heart of God's triune being should guide all of our theological endeavors. Throughout, music accompanies our thinking, demonstrating not only how theology can benefit the philosophy of music but also how the philosophy of music can enrich and augment theological discourse. ""Stearns's Handling Dissonance boldly and deftly enacts an intellectual exchange between a contemporary trinitarian theologian and one of the most profound composer-theorists of all time. Renovating the concept of unity as inherently bound up with multiplicity, the study enriches theological thinking through musical models and fertilizes musical thinking through theological principles."" --Matthew Arndt, University of Iowa School of Music ""In Handling Dissonance, Chelle L. Stearns gives us new language and a new way of thinking about a Trinitarian conception of unity and its relation to such ideas as materiality, substance, particularity, and freedom . . . This is an engaging and important book for theologians and music scholars alike."" --Mark A. Peters, President, Society for Christian Scholarship in Music ""Compellingly argued and incisively theorized, Handling Dissonance is a sustained attack on faults in the underlying principles of Schoenberg's aesthetic theology, and a foil for redemptive meditation on Colin Gunton's Trinitarian theology--a true landmark in interdisciplinary thought."" --Bennett Zon, Durham University ""Chelle L. Stearns's Handling Dissonance is a fascinating study of Schoenberg's 'aesthetic theology' . . . Schoenberg's understanding of unity--one that dissolves particularity in itself--is placed up against Gunton's and Begbie's concepts of unity that celebrate the particular and allow it to thrive. The book will be of value to students of music theory and philosophy as well as theology."" --Jack Boss, University of Oregon Chelle L. Stearns is Associate Professor of Theology at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology in Seattle. She received her PhD from the University of St. Andrews as part of the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts.