Appeared in Winter 1995 | Vol. XXI, No. 4
Twentieth Anniversary Issue
In the Christian tradition, “light” is a term that has extensive significance. A goodly variety of philosophers, theologians, and poets have made remarkably insightful contributions to Christianity’s highly developed and beautifully integrated understanding of “light.” This essay will explore the Christian meaning of light, and its significance for a world of skepticism, relativism, and cynicism.
Among the many outstanding thinkers who have made important contributions to the continuing discussion of light, few have equalled St. Bonaventure for depth of insight, breadth of conception, and richness of expression. The Seraphic Doctor brings to bear, in his treatment of light, a mind that is at once theological, philosophical, and poetic. We find a good example of this threefold habitus in his Breviloquium where he explains the six days of creation in relation to varying degrees of light ranging from the luminous to the translucent and finally to the opaque.1
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