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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

The Recovery of Beauty Public Lecture - Beautiful Ideas: The Visibility of Truth

6th February 2012, 18:15 to 19:15, Room 201, Elvet Riverside Building, New Elvet, Professor Mark McIntosh (Durham University)

This is the seventh lecture in The Recovery of Beauty Public Lecture.

For his inaugural lecture as Van Mildert Professor of Divinity, Mark McIntosh considers the metaphysical conditions within which beauty can be seen and thought. If beauty is to be recoverable today as more than starkly tragic or dangerous, its connection to the other 'transcendentals' of truth and goodness will also need to be appraised. For much of the history of Western thought, the beautiful was understood to be an epiphany, a disclosure of depths of reality and truthfulness that was both attractive and often transforming to its beholder. Searching for reasons why this was thought to be so, the lecture explores the particular case of the beauty of the cosmos, understood as an expression of intelligibility and meaning, and the role of contemplation in bringing truth to birth in those who gaze on the beauty of the visible as an ascent towards the theoretical.

Mark McIntosh holds degrees in History and Theology from Yale and Oxford Universities, and a Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Chicago. Before taking up his post at Durham, he was professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Loyola University Chicago, and has authored monographs on the history and theology of Christian mystical thought. He is currently under contract with Oxford University Press for a study of the divine ideas tradition in history and its potential significance today. He is also canon residentiary of Durham Cathedral and an Anglican representative on the Anglican.Roman Catholic International Commission. For six years he served as chaplain to the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, USA, and as canon theologian to the 25th Presiding Bishop and Primate.

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