The Beauty of Jesus Christ: Filling out a Scheme of St Augustine

ISBN : 9780198853633

Gerald O'Collins, SJ
176 ページ
129 x 196 mm

This book anchors its account of the beauty of Jesus Christ to a scheme found in St Augustine of Hippo's Expositions of the Psalms. There Augustine recognized the beauty of Christ at every stage-from his pre-existence ('beautiful in heaven'), through his incarnation, the public ministry ('beautiful in his miracles, beautiful in calling to life'), passion, crucifixion, burial, resurrection ('beautiful in taking up his life again'), and glorious life 'in heaven'. Augustine never filled out this laconic summary by writing a work on Christ and his beauty. The Beauty of Jesus Christ seems to be the first attempt in Christian history to write a comprehensive account of the beauty of Christ in the light of Augustine's list.

The work begins by offering a working description of what it understands by beauty as being perfect, harmonious, and radiant. Beauty, above all the divine beauty, enjoys inexhaustible meaning and overlaps with 'the holy' or the awesome and fascinating mystery of God. Loving beauty opens the way to truth and helps us grasp and practise virtue. The books needs to add some items to Augustine's list by recognizing Christ's beauty in his baptism, transfiguration, and post-resurrection sending of the Holy Spirit. It also goes beyond Augustine by showing how the imagery and language Jesus prepared in his hidden life and then used in his ministry witness to the beautiful sensibility that developed during his years at home in Nazareth.

Throughout, this book draws on the Scriptures to illustrate and justify Augustine's brief claims about the beauty revealed in the whole story of Christ, from his pre-existence to his risen 'post-existence'. Where appropriate, it also cites the witness to Christ's beauty that has come from artists, composers of sacred music, the creators of icons, and writers.


1 An Account of Beauty

2 The Beauty of the Pre-existent Wisdom and Word 'in Heaven'

3 'Beautiful on Earth': The Beauty of the Incarnate Christ

4 'Beautiful in His Parents' Arms': The Beauty of Christ's Childhood and Hidden Life

5 'Beautiful in His Miracles, Beautiful in Calling to Life'

6 'Beautiful in Calling to Life' -The Encounters in John's Gospel

7 'Beautiful under the Scourges, Beautiful on the Cross'

8 'Beautiful in the Tomb': The Descent to the Dead

9 'Beautiful in Taking up His Life again': The Beauty of the Resurrection


Select Bibliography

Index of Names

Biblical Index


Born in Melbourne (Australia), Gerald O'Collins received his PhD in 1968 at the University of Cambridge, where he was a research fellow at Pembroke College. From 1973 to 2006, he taught fundamental and systematic theology at the Gregorian University (Rome), where he was also dean of the theology faculty (1985-91). He is now an adjunct professor of Australian Catholic University and a research fellow of the University of Divinity (Melbourne). Well known in the UK, US, India, New Zealand, South Africa, his native Australia, and elsewhere as a visiting lecturer, he has published hundreds of articles in professional and popular journals and authored or co-authored 74 books.