Philosophical Reflection on Beauty in the Late Middle Ages: The Case of Jean Gerson

Religions 15 (4):434 (2024)
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Abstract

The late Middle Ages witnessed a recapitulation of medieval reflection on beauty. Jean Gerson is an important representative of these philosophical and theological contributions, although he has been largely neglected up to this time. A first dimension of his ideas on beauty is the incorporation of beauty (pulchrum) into the number of transcendentals, i.e., the concepts “convertible” with the notion of being (ens), that is, unity, truth, and goodness (unum, verum and bonum). This article revisits Monica Calma’s study on Gerson’s theory of beauty and suggests new hypothetical sources that may have inspired this aspect of his thought. The second aspect emphasised here is Gerson’s classification of beauty, which entails some similarities to the one of Ulrich of Strasbourg, but also differs from it. Moreover, its incorporation of a division entirely devoted to artistic beauty is highly remarkable.

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David Torrijos-Castrillejo
Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso

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