LOGOS: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture


Sketch for a Christological Aesthetics

Publication Date

Spring 1997

Document Type




First Page


Last Page



If we set out to show someone that rationalism and detachment are not the be-all and end-all of the human response to the world—to being, to everything or anything there is—we should have to persuade him or her that there are some kinds of reality where only thefeeling mind—mind, heart—and emotions working in tandem, can offer an adequate cognitive response, can do justice as an act of knowing, to the reality that is there to be known.We would have to add that, in these cases, the more you are in sympathy with the object concerned—the more you place yourself, so to speak, on its side and immerse yourself in it—the better, not worse, you understand it. Were we asked to offer concrete examples , two such—another person, and a work ofart—are most likely to spring to mind. Nor are these examples unrelated. Any work of art is an intensely personal communication, even if the artist's name be unknown, as with most primitive, antique, and medieval art, and even if he makes himself simply the voice of that inter-personal thing we call a culture. Conversely, a person, like a work of art, is always a figure or a form to us. A person is never a mere shapeless huddle; rather are they, as the Greek for "person" (proso'pon ) implies, a certain face, certain gestures and expressions, a certain style of behavior—all of which convey interiority, the inner man, the soul.The body, as Wittgenstein famously remarked, is the soul's best picture.


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