- List of Contributors
- The Self and the Good Life
- Nationalism and Patriotism
- The Making of the Modern Metropolis
- The Other
- Freedom and Human Emancipation
- Work and Labour
- Suffering In Theology and Modern European Thought
- Nihilism and Theology: Who Stands at the Door?
- War and Peace
- Radical Philosophy and Political Theology
- Beauty and Sublimity
- Time and History
- The Metaphysics of Modernity
- The Bible
- Divine Providence
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter explores the relation of ‘modern’ and ‘secular’ aesthetics to the theological forebears from which it is apparently radically distinct, and investigates the lingering inheritance of and antagonism towards theology in some reflections on the beauty of nature and art, and on the sublime, in modern thought. The analysis focuses on two examples of the relation between aesthetics and the theological. First, it turns to Kant's to examine the text often credited, if not with inventing the aesthetic, then with elaborating one of its earliest systematic formulations. Second, the chapter looks at the work of Theodor Adorno, which represents a confrontation with the theological inheritance of aestheticsm – not in the sense that Adorno wishes to purge aesthetics of theology, but rather to argue that aesthetics both is and is not cryptically theological. It also considers Bernstein's elaboration of the specific status of modern aesthetics.
Ross Wilson is Lecturer in Literature at the University of East Anglia. He is the author of Theodor Adorno (2006), Subjective Universality in Kant’s Aesthetics (2007) and editor of The Meaning of ‘Life’ in Romantic Poetry and Poetics (2008). He is currently working on a monograph entitled Shelley and the Apprehension of Life.
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