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Beauty and Revelation in the Thought of Saint Augustine$
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Carol Harrison

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198263425

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198263425.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Beauty and Revelation in the Thought of Saint Augustine


Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the fall of man, using the metaphor from George Herbert's The Elixir of when one is looking into a mirror. Augustine makes this distinction: St Paul's looking into a mirror is an act of discernment, an attempt to make out the shapes and forms in the mirror and grasp what they signify. This looking through cloudiness and obscurity to make out shapes and forms is, for Augustine, a powerful metaphor of human life following the Fall. The vision of Divine Beauty, which man has lost, can also be grasped in the mirror of created reality, albeit obscured by a veil of temporality and corporeity. This is most especially the case with the revelation of divine beauty within that realm, which serves to reform deformed or ugly man by inspiring his faith, hope, and love, not simply to look at it, but in and through it.

Keywords:   George Herbert, Augustine, St Paul, man's fall, Divine Beauty

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