I was recently asked by a friend for some recommendations of theology books on beauty, for a class he will be teaching. I gave him a few suggestions, but I was reminded in the process that there is quite a deep well of books on similar topics, not least of which is Hans Urs von Balthasar’s massive (and massively expensive) 7-volume work, The Glory of the Lord.
So, I offer this introductory list of theology books on beauty, with the realization that these few books will get us started thinking in this direction, but they only scratch the surface.
*** What theology books on beauty would you add to this list?
Beauty engages fourth-century bishop Gregory of Nyssa to address beauty’s place in theology and the broader world. With the recent resurgence of attention to beauty among theologians, questions still remain about what exactly beauty is, how it is perceived, and whether we should celebrate its return. If beauty fell out of favor because it was seen to distract from the weightier concerns of poverty and suffering–because it can even be a tool of oppression–why should we laud it now? Gregory’s writings offer surprisingly rich and relevant reflections that can move contemporary conversations beyond current impasses and critiques of beauty. Drawing Gregory into conversation with such disparate voices as novelist J. M. Coetzee and art theorist Kaja Silverman, Beauty displays the importance of beauty to theology and theology to beauty in a discussion that bridges ancient and modern, practical and theoretical, secular and religious.