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Martin Luther's Theology of Beauty: A Reappraisal

Martin Luther's Theology of Beauty: A Reappraisal

by Mark C. Mattes
Martin Luther's Theology of Beauty: A Reappraisal

Martin Luther's Theology of Beauty: A Reappraisal

by Mark C. Mattes




Many contemporary theologians seek to retrieve the concept of beauty as a way for people to encounter God. This groundbreaking book argues that while Martin Luther's view of beauty has often been ignored or underappreciated, it has much to contribute to that quest. Mark Mattes, one of today's leading Lutheran theologians, analyzes Luther's theological aesthetics and discusses its implications for music, art, and the contemplative life. Mattes shows that for Luther, the cross is the lens through which the beauty of God is refracted into the world.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801098376
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/22/2017
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Mark C. Mattes (PhD, University of Chicago) is professor of philosophy and religion at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. He previously served parishes in Illinois and Wisconsin. Mattes has authored, edited, or translated a number of books and is an associate editor of the forthcoming Dictionary of Luther and the Lutheran Traditions.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction
Foundation in Scripture
Overview of the Book
2. Luther's Use of Philosophy
The Scope of Philosophy in the Late Medieval University
Nominalism and Realism
Luther's Divergences from Nominalism
Aristotle's Inadequacies and Adequacies
Early Appropriation of Plato
The Question of Double Truth
Priority of Grammar over Logic
The Semantics of the New Tongue
3. Luther on Goodness
Brief Overview of Medieval Views of Goodness
Justification and Goodness
Omnipotence and Divine Goodness
Goodness as the Heart of God
Comparison with Medieval Perspectives
4. The Early Luther on Beauty
Proportionality, Light, and Desire
Beauty as a Transcendental
Beauty in the Theology of Humility
Beauty and the Question of Form
5. The Mature Luther on Beauty
Beauty Sub Contrario in Selected Psalms (1530s)
Beauty in the Lectures on Galatians (1535)
Lectures on Genesis (1535 and Following)
6. Luther on the Theology and Beauty of Music
Music as a Creation and Gift of God
Luther's Response to the Ancient Church's Mixed Reception
of Music
Luther's Response to Reformed Reservations about Music
The Affectivity of Music as Embodied Word
Criteria for Beauty in Music
Poetic Summary of Luther's View of Music
7. Luther on Visual Imaging
The Role of Images in the Early Church
Critique of Medieval Veneration of Icons
Critique of Iconoclasm
Word as Portrayal
A Covered God
8. Luther and Nouvelle Théologie
The Ambiguity of the Infinite
An Enchanted World
The Strange Beauty of the Cross
The Goals of the Nouvelle Theologie
The Question of Participation
The Question of Hierarchy
The Question of Pure Nature
9. Luther for a Contemporary Theology of Beauty
Summary of Results
Beauty of Christ Revisited
Creaturely Beauty Revisited
God as Beautiful Revisited
Luther in Contrast to Modern Views of Beauty
The Sublime
Revisiting Form
Beauty and Preaching

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