The authors of the standard approach to Bonaventure’s aesthetics established the broad themes that continue to inform the current interpretation of his philosophy, theology, and mysticism of beauty: his definition of beauty and its status as a transcendental of being, his description of the aesthetic experience, and the role of that experience in the soul’s ascent into God. Nevertheless, they also introduced a series of pointed questions that the current literature has not adequately resolved. In Bonaventure’s Aesthetics: The Delight of the Soul in Its Ascent into God, Thomas J. McKenna provides a comprehensive analysis of Bonaventure’s aesthetics, the first to appear since Balthasar’s Herrlichkeit, and argues for a resolution to these questions in the context of his principal aesthetic text, the Itinerarium mentis in Deum.
Thomas J. McKenna is professor of history and philosophy at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia.
A Note on the Cover Illustration
Introduction: Disputed Questions on Bonaventure’s Aesthetics
1. Bonaventure’s Debt to l’Esthétique Musicale
2. Bonaventure’s Debt to l’Esthétique de la Lumière
3. Bonaventure’s Account of the Aesthetic Experience
4. The Aesthetic Dimensions of the Itinerarium Mentis in Deum
"In this, the first full-scale treatment of Bonaventure’s aesthetics since Von Balthasar, Thomas McKenna deftly engages the full range of past assessments and with care and precision, establishes a re-reading of Bonaventure’s entire corpus attentive to both propositional content and historical-textual inheritance. McKenna’s arguments clarify the range of Bonaventure’s unique contributions to medieval aesthetics, centering the fact that for Bonaventure, the soul’s delight in the beauty and goodness of the cosmos is an 'aesthetic stimulus' to its rational analysis of creation’s testimony that in turn prepares it for 'supra cognitive delight' of union with the Divine."