Chapter

Beauty and Aesthetics

Michael J. McClymond and Gerald R. McDermott

in The Theology of Jonathan Edwards

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199791606
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199791606.003.0006
Beauty and Aesthetics

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From the very beginning of Edwards's theological development, the concept of beauty was a central theme, more important than for any previous Calvinistic author. Platonic in outlook, Edwards distinguished between physical and spiritual beauties, the former functioning as types of the latter. Beauty itself, also termed “excellency,” primarily consists of God's holiness. The concept of beauty also contained a Trinitarian dimension. Edwards's concept of proportion implied a complexity or diversity because “one alone, without reference to any more, cannot be excellent.” As such, “God's infinite beauty is his infinite mutual love of himself.” For humans, the perception of such beauty is limited to those with a spiritual sensibility or “new sense of the heart.”

Keywords: beauty; excellency; aesthetics; holiness; Trinity; Platonism

Chapter.  3780 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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