Aesthetics and Ethics: Jonathan Edwards and the Recovery of Aesthetics for Religious Ethics

Journal of Religious Ethics 31 (2):277 - 297 (2003)
This is a tricentennial riff on the Edwardsean idea that beauty is both the first principle of being and the distinguishing perfection of God. What is really distinctive about Edwards's view of beauty is that it is an ontological reality and consists in joyfully bestowing being and beauty more than in being beautiful, in creative and beautifying activity more than in being beautiful. Edwards was also a pioneer in the way he envisaged a lively universe created by God, not out of nothing or out of something, but out of the very fullness of God's own life overflowing into a world as a self-enlargement of the divine life. Edwards dares to offer a vision of God as the animating soul of the universe who governs the universe by the attractive and creative power of God's own beautifying life. What might it mean for religious ethics to take this as a description of the context for its work? The answer, in part and in brief, is that a life of true virtue, grounded in the heartfelt piety of holy affections, is a beautifying life. My aim in spinning out some Edwardsean themes is to encourage the reader to think about religious ethics outside the box within which beauty and beautifying activity play no part in defining the agenda of religious ethics. Inspired by themes unique and central to Edwards in his time, we may learn things of importance to religious ethics in our time that Edwards neither knew nor believed
Keywords Edwards  beauty  Jonathan  ethics  aesthetics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/jore.2003.31.issue-2
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 34,484
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Jonathan Edwards.William Wainwright - 1995 - Faith and Philosophy.
Honoring Jonathan Edwards.Philip L. Quinn - 2003 - Journal of Religious Ethics 31 (2):299 - 321.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
33 ( #184,924 of 2,267,117 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #144,939 of 2,267,117 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature