In the beginning was beauty, and beauty was with God, and beauty was God. If the tradition of divine names, that (in its Christian form) originates with Dionysius the Areopagite and includes among its ranks Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, and others, is correct in identifying God with the name beauty, then repurposing the Prologue to John's Gospel in this way seems hardly controversial. For if beauty is a divine name then not only is it fitting to say God is beautiful, but it is equally fitting to say that God is beauty itself. However, like most arguments from fittingness-that is to say, arguments whose veracity derives from the congruency, proportion, or harmony between the various elements of a proposition or idea rather than from some categorically higher, or univocally determinate, logical necessity-the simplicity of its utterance stands in stark contrast to the complexity of its intelligible content. It is the aim of the present work is to explore what it means to say that beauty is a divine name.
Brendan Thomas Sammon received his PhD in systematic theology from The Catholic University of America and is currently an assistant professor of systematic theology at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the author of the forthcoming 'Theology and Beauty: An Introduction to Theological Aesthetic'.
Acknowledgments Introduction Part One 1 Beauty and the Divine in Ancient Greek Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle 2 Beauty and the Divine in Neoplatonism: Plotinus and Proclus Part Two 3 The Tradition of the Divine Names 4 Beauty as a Divine Name in Dionysius the Areopagite I: Beauty as Transcendent Plenitude 5 Beauty as a Divine Name in Dionysius the Areopagite II: Beauty as a Principle of Determination 6 Beauty and the One Part Three 7 The Passage of Dionysius into The Latin West 8 The Journey of Beauty as a Divine Name: From the Sixth to the Thirteenth Century 9 Beauty as a Divine Name in Albert the Great 10 Thomas Aquinas and the Tradition of the Divine Names 11 Beauty as a Divine Name in Thomas Aquinas: In de Divinis Nominibus Expositio 12 Beauty as a Divine Name in Thomas Aquinas: Beyond The Commentary on the Divine Names 13 Conclusion: Beauty as the Between Bibliography