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14 - Beauty

Spirituality, Love, and Desire

from IV - Participation and the Shape of Human Life

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 August 2019

Andrew Davison
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

This chapter, on beauty, explores the desirability and splendor of creatures as a participation in divine beauty and goodness. It is, at heart, an exploration of what to love, and how to love it. In the words of an ancient prayer, the message is one of loving God 'above all things, and in all things'. As a contrasting position, we consider the vision of the Swedish Lutheran theologian Anders Nygren. Unlike his appeal for us to sever love for God from love for creatures, the vision in this chapter is integrative. The tendency is considered, all the same, for human waywardness in how we love, and the order of our loving. While the reality of sin and the need for restraint are recognised, the characteristics of a 'participatory spirituality' are seen not to be founded on denial or rejection: what Martin Buber calls one of 'subtraction ... or reduction'. The focus for the chapter is for the most part what could be called the beauty of goodness. It concludes with a discussion of the participatory character of aesthetic beauty.

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Chapter
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Participation in God
A Study in Christian Doctrine and Metaphysics
, pp. 327 - 347
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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  • Beauty
  • Andrew Davison, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Participation in God
  • Online publication: 15 August 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108629287.019
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  • Beauty
  • Andrew Davison, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Participation in God
  • Online publication: 15 August 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108629287.019
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Beauty
  • Andrew Davison, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Participation in God
  • Online publication: 15 August 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108629287.019
Available formats
×