Volume 95, Issue 4, Fall 2021
Is God Capable of Enjoying Aesthetic Beauty?
A Controversy between Dietrich von Hildebrand and Jacques Maritain
Through this paper we seek to deal with the question of whether God is capable of enjoying aesthetic beauty. First of all, we will consider whether this beauty has meaning for God by contrasting Maritain’s and Hildebrand’s thoughts. This will lead us to expose the fundamental distinctions drawn by both authors regarding beauty, and to study more carefully the relationship between aesthetic beauty and the senses. Subsequently, we will present four criticisms of the assertion, inferred from Maritain’s thought, that aesthetic beauty has no meaning for God. Examining these criticisms will involve recognizing the fundamental distinction between transcendental beauty and aesthetic beauty, which cannot be understood just as something grounded in transcendental beauty. Finally, partially restoring Maritain’s theses, we will acknowledge the aporia present in the relationship between aesthetic beauty and God and we will discuss possible solutions to it.