Article Title

Apocalyptic Beauty

Page Range



Aesthetics, beauty, the whole in the part, apocalyptic themes, revelation, catacombs, theolgical beauty


A potent and formative text for a theological aesthetics faithful to the God revealed in the Scriptures is the Apocalypse of John (Revelation). An apocalyptic viewpoint is beautiful inasmuch as it observes the whole from within the part of time/space and inasmuch as the apocalyptic vision provides considerable unity of diverse theological themes with various expansions and enhancements, hence mimicking the very function of theological beauty to communicate the whole (God) in the part (here, in space-time). This essay traces major themes throughout Scripture, utilizing inter-textual interpretation en route, and seeks to clarify the Book of Revelation's role in recapitulation, consummation, and consolation (i.e. beauty). Commenting on how the Apocalypse meets the criteria for being theologically beautiful, this essay then seeks to show how this role of beauty--and in particular, consolation--attracted the early Christian devotees visiting/dwelling-in the catacombs (A.D. 150-500) to make the Apocalypse of John one of the major contributors to their artwork.