Beauty and Revelation in the Thought of Saint Augustine

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Carol Harrison places Saint Augustine's theology in a new and illuminating context by considering what he has to say about beauty. She demonstrates how a theological understanding of beauty revealed in the created, temporal realm enabled Augustine to form a positive appreciation of this realm and the saving power of beauty within it. It therefore reintroduces aesthetics alongside philosophy and ethics in Augustine's treatment of God. Unlike previous works, it shifts the emphasis away from Augustine's early and most theoretical treatises to his mature reflections as a bishop and pastor on how God communicates with fallen man. Using his theory of language as a paradigm, it shows how divine beauty, revealed in creation and history, serves to inspire fallen man's faith, hope, and most especially his love - thereby reforming him and restoring the form or beauty he had lost.