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THEOPHANY AND INDICATION: RECONCILING AUGUSTINIAN AND PALAMITE AESTHETICS

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Abstract

Based on an analysis of certain theophanic narratives in the Hebrew Scriptures (Exodus 3 and 19, 1 Kings 19), this article poses the question of their Christian exegesis: which of the Persons of the Holy Trinity appeared to the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament and how? This seemingly trivial question has become a decisive and controversial topic in the formation of two distinct theological aesthetics: one influenced by Augustine in the West and another that finds its culmination with Gregory Palamas in the East. The aim of this article is to reconcile the polemical interpretations of Old Testament theophanies by employing a Christological understanding of aesthetics as developed by Hans Urs von Balthasar (in his Herrlichkeit) and a more nuanced understanding of signification as developed by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty under the concept of indication.

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