Monday, 12 March 2007

Hans Urs von Balthasar and beauty

“Balthasar’s theological aesthetics begins with ‘beauty’…. That which appears in the beauty of natural and created forms is the glory of being, der Glanz des Seins. It speaks of the mystery of that which transcends and yet inheres in all existents. Consequently, aesthetics is not just one department of knowledge, which in relative independence of others constitutes a relatively autonomous discipline. When one sees the beauty of a person, a work of art, or a sunset, one is confronted at the same time with the mystery of its otherness. This sense of the wonder of beauty, Balthasar believes, is at the root of all serious metaphysical endeavor.”

—Louis Roberts, The Theological Aesthetics of Hans Urs von Balthasar (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1987), 122.

4 Comments:

Shane said...

This reminds me a favorite passage of Chesterton's from his brilliant little book on Thomas:

"Now it unfortunately happens that the word 'being', as it comes to a modern Englishman, through modern associations, has a sort of hazy atmosphere that is not in the short and sharp Latin word. Perhaps it reminds him of fantastic professors in fiction, who wave their hands and say, "Thus do we mount to the ineffable heights of pure and radiant Being: or, worse still, of actual professors in real life, who say, "All Being is Becoming; and is but the evolution of Not-Being by the law of its Being." Perhaps it only reminds him of romantic rhapsodies in old love stories; "Beautiful and adorable being, light and breath of my very being". Anyhow it has a wild and woolly sort of sound; as if only very vague people used it; or as if it might mean all sorts of different things."

Dharmashaiva said...

With beauty, Balthasar nails it on the head.

Shane said...

what is the glory of being?

Tony said...

the glory of being: that YOU EXIST... let me pose a question: what really makes you WONDER, Shane?

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