in Beauty and Revelation in the Thought of Saint Augustine

Published in print August 1992 | ISBN: 9780198263425
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191682544 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs


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This chapter introduces the fall of man, using the metaphor from George Herbert's The Elixir of when one is looking into a mirror. Augustine makes this distinction: St Paul's looking into a mirror is an act of discernment, an attempt to make out the shapes and forms in the mirror and grasp what they signify. This looking through cloudiness and obscurity to make out shapes and forms is, for Augustine, a powerful metaphor of human life following the Fall. The vision of Divine Beauty, which man has lost, can also be grasped in the mirror of created reality, albeit obscured by a veil of temporality and corporeity. This is most especially the case with the revelation of divine beauty within that realm, which serves to reform deformed or ugly man by inspiring his faith, hope, and love, not simply to look at it, but in and through it.

Keywords: George Herbert; Augustine; St Paul; man's fall; Divine Beauty

Chapter.  691 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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