Beauty and the Divine?

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Some final questions from resident philosopher, William Edelglass, to help propel you to those brilliant submissions!

My colleague and dear friend, Amer Latif, is a scholar of Sufi poetry, especially the work of Rumi.  In a Rumi poem Amer has translated, Rumi questions God, asking where the poet should seek the Divine.  And God answers, “Seek me in your beautiful conduct.”  What does it mean that our conduct can be beautiful?  And what would it mean that in the very beauty of our conduct we can find God?

Taking this a step further, what is the relationship between beauty and the Divine?  This summer I gave several talks in Estonia and went to an Estonian Orthodox Church for services on two Sundays.  The music and icons and ritual were so beautiful and I felt a deep connection to the Divine.  Thomas Aquinas argued that beauty is an attribute of God, and that when we experience beauty we are connecting to God.  I have also felt this in the mountains and singing with friends.  Is this encounter with beauty, both natural and artistic, an encounter with God?

-William Edelglass

Philosophy Professor

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