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Bonaventure and Light

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

How Light Shines Internally

           Unlike the aesthetics of the past several authors, Bonaventure believed that God was the creator of all things and that God is the one who illuminates the darkness. This is the first time that we have seen the idea of God so prevalent in one’s philosophy in these readings. Bonaventure says that there are four different lights that we know of and defines all four of them. The first is the external light, which is the “…Light of the mechanical skill.” With this light, we can enjoy what others have created, either with the arts or with the everyday crafts. The lower light is the next one which is the sense of perception. This light is our sense in which we use to se the natural world. The inner light is the third one and it is called the light of philosophical knowledge. It is the knowledge and reason that can only come from thinking or actions inside of you. Finally, you have the higher light, which is that of Scripture and God Himself. It is the light that actually saves us from this world and takes us to that transcendental realm of which we cannot get to ourselves.

            After talking about the lights, Bonaventure then begins to discuss art and its place inside of the fixtures of the lights. All of poetry and art seem to be of the external light nature. It is created by someone who has the skill to make it and can be seen and heard by others. I believe that Bonaventure likes art and sees it as beautiful.

            It’s funny that Bonaventure should mention luminosity throughout this work. I read in C.S. Lewis’ The Weight of Glory and he talks about how, in Hebrew, the word glory means illuminated and the praise of others. When we read in the Old Testament when God talks to the Israelites or when His glory is around, there is usually an idea of lights and luminosity surrounding Him. I don’t know if Bonaventure would have known Hebrew, but he has a good grasp on the idea of God and light.



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