Senses of Beauty
Against the dominant contemporary options of usefulness and disinterestedness, this dissertation attempts to display that beauty is better--more fully, richly, generatively--described with the categories of fittingness and gratuity. By working through texts by Gregory of Nyssa, this dissertation fills out what fittingness and gratuity entail--what, that is, they <italic>do</italic> for beauty-seekers and beauty-talkers. After the historical set-up of the first chapter, chapter 2 considers fittingness and gratuity through Gregory's doctrine of God because Beauty, for Gregory, is a name for God. That God is radically transcendent transforms (radicalizes) fittingness and gratuity away from a strictly Platonic vision of how they might function. Chapter 3 extends such radicalization by considering beauty in light of Christology and particularly in light of the Christological claims to invisibility, poverty, and suffering. In a time when beauty is wending its way back from an academic exile enforced by its associations with the `bourgeois,' such considerations re-present beauty as deeply intertwined with ugliness and horror. Chapter 4 asks how it is a person might perceive such beauty, which calls for pneumatological and anthropological reflections on Gregory's doctrine of the spiritual senses. The person who sees beauty rightly, for Gregory, is the person who is wounded by love.