The Cosmological Potential of Byzantine Ascetic Aesthetics

Tsarenok, Аndrey
July 2017
Future Human Image;2017, Vol. 8, p160
Academic Journal
The study explores the peculiarities of the cosmological senses, which exist in Byzantine ascetic aesthetical doctrine. Underlining the obvious strong connection between theological aesthetics, ontology and cosmology, the author of the article points out the interpretation of world’s beauty, order and harmony by representatives of ascetic culture of Byzantium (sts. Grigoriy the Theologian, Grigoriy, bishop of Niss, Ioann Chrysostom, Ioann Damaskin, Simeon the New Theologian and others). The aesthetics of the asceticism is characterized as theocentrical ontology of beauty. Its development has been influenced by theism, trinitary monotheism and theocentrism of Christian world-view tradition. The theologians speak about the existence of the Highest Absolute Beauty, Who is the cause of the beautiful things in created reality. The impressive qualities of cosmos are considered as evidence of being of their Almighty Creator. Therefore, the sensual cognition can help believer in his or her search of God. At the same time, ascetic aesthetics prevents from unreasonable enjoying of the sensual (material, somatic) beauty for such enjoying is able to make the true person’s spiritual perfection impossible. Moreover, according to Christian theology, absolutization of the cosmical beauty regularly distorts the person’s belief: Byzantine ascetics point out the “aesthetical” cause of paganism appearance. Appealing to Bible, theologians differentiate two periods in history of cosmos, which can be interpreted as the pre-sin and the post-sin ones. The beginning of visible world existence was marked with being of original beauty, order and harmony, but the transgression, committed by the first people, distorted the cosmos to a great degree. Acknowledging of this sorrowful fact does not ruin quite an optimistic character of ascetic aesthetical, ontological and cosmological conceptions of Byzantium. According to them, the beauty of Universe will be completely renewed in future by Merciful Creator.


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