Aspects of Revelation (II)

Samuel Fleischacker

in Divine Teaching and the Way of the World

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199217366
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728495 | DOI:
Aspects of Revelation (II)

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This is the central chapter of the book: it makes the fullest case for the advantages of revelation as a way of coming to our highest good. That case turns on the way beauty can function to help us grasp something that lies beyond our normal conceptual schemes—to help us, therefore, grasp a highest good that may be so hard to pin down because it transcends all our concepts. Other features of beauty are used to suggest that it is the proper mode in which to present an object of reflective love. Consequently, the beautiful—poetic—aspects of revelatory texts, the aspects that make them hard to grasp and in need of constant interpretation, become central to them. The chapter makes extensive use of the aesthetic theories of Kant, Plato, and Heidegger, for all of whom beauty is not merely a form of pleasure but something that addresses our cognitive faculties. Overall, it suggests that a God who communicates with us, if there is one, may have to speak beautifully.

Keywords: beauty; concepts; Kant; Plato; Heidegger; genius; poetry; prophecy; interpretation

Chapter.  17746 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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