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The Portal of Beauty: Towards a Theology of Aesthetics

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2008 / Paperback

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"Beauty is an event; beauty happens when the Whole offers itself in the fragment, and when this self-giving transcends infinite distance. But is this really possible? How can the limitless inhabit what is little? How can the everlasting 'abbreviate' itself without ceasing to be? And how can immensity become small and still exist?

"The answer offered to these questions by an important strand in Western thought is that all this can indeed happen, in one of two ways; either though the form of the fragment, the way, that is, that it makes present here an now the harmonious proportions of the Whole---so beauty is 'formosus'!---or through beauty's brightness, where the splendor of the Whole bursts forth in the fragment, and lays hold of the beholder: this bright loveliness is 'speciosus'!

"In this world, the Word speaks the truth about himself in the ultimate 'self-emptying,' thanks to that act by which---in no way coerced by the One who is infinitely great---the Son lets himself be contained by the infinitely small. Becoming little in this way is truly divine." -from the introduction

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 144
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0802832806
ISBN-13: 9780802832801
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

A famous Italian theologian's eloquent reflections on beauty and God.

"Beauty is an event: it happens when the Whole, the All, offers itself to us in the fragment, when the Infinite makes itself little." This is how Bruno Forte describes the long-held Christian tradition that traces beauty back to God and sees God as the source of all beauty. But, he questions, is this really possible? How can the limitless inhabit what is little? In The Portal of Beauty Forte examines the deep, though not always obvious, contribution of theological thought -- from the minds of such luminaries as Augustine, Aquinas, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Balthasar, and Evdokimov -- to the understanding and experience of beauty.

Author Bio

Bruno Forte is Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, Italy. He hasalso served as professor of systematic theology at thePontifical Theological Faculty of Naples, Italy, as amember of the International Theological Commission of theHoly See, and as a consultant of the Pontifical Council forCulture. "
There is no author information available at this time.

Author Bio

Bruno Forte is Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto in Italy. He is the author of many books, including The Essence of Christianity and To Follow You, Light of Life.

Publisher Description

“Beauty is an event: it happens when the Whole, the All, offersitself to us in the fragment, when the Infinite makes itself little.” In this way, Bruno Forte describes the long-held Christian tradition that traces beauty back to God and sees God as the source of all beauty. But, he questions, is this really possible? How can the limitless inhabit what is little? In The Portal of Beauty, Forte examines the deep, though not always obvious, contribution of theological thought to the understanding and experience of beauty.

In the first six chapters, Forte calls as witnesses some of the greatest luminaries of the Church in the East and West: Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Søren Kierkegaard, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Pavel Evdokimov. Forte then moves to a consideration of music as a sacred language and a contemplation of how film can transmit faith through story and icon. Finally, he closes with a moving meditation on the fragility and finitude of the mortal fragments through which divine beauty manifests itself.

The Portal of Beauty is an erudite, moving, and deeply felt study by the most famous Italian theologian in Italy on the nature of beauty and how it can lead us to a greater understanding of and communion with the divine.

Editorial Reviews

Robin M. Jensen
— Vanderbilt Divinity School
"Bruno Forte's lucid and eloquent account of beauty's place in theological and artistic expression inspires the reader to reflect more profoundly about the nature, source, and end of this infinite yet intimate means of Divine encounter. We are reminded that beauty is both transcendent and terrifying, calling us to consciousness of our mortality. At the same time, beauty is the assurance of God's presence to, in, and beyond human existence."

Gesa Thiessen
— Milltown Institute, Dublin
"A fine introduction to the notion of beauty in some key thinkers, written with empathy and insight."

Luci Shaw
— Regent College
" Beauty, a unique aspect of God's grace, is a universal that invites us to turn a corner, glimpsing transcendence and joining the earthly with the heavenly in those moments when God reveals his magnanimity and magnificence. This elegantly translated text allows us to see through the eyes of some of the great theological thinkers and observers in human history. If you are sick of banality and superficiality, dive into Bruno Forte's Portal of Beauty and be refreshed and enlarged."

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