What hath beauty to do with systematic theology? In this new monograph, Samuel G. Parkison explores this question by examining the relationship between Christ’s divine beauty and regeneration and faith. Building on recent scholarship in (a) theological retrieval of the Christian tradition, and (b) Protestant developments in theological aesthetics, this project is concerned with soteriology’s aesthetic dimension. While many today may consider beauty a mere matter of preference, glibly assuming that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Parkison pushes fiercely in the opposite direction, dignifying beauty by recognizing its objective value—a feature of aesthetics that has fallen on hard times since the so–called Enlightenment, and the subsequent “uglification of culture” (as Sir Roger Scruton put it).
In this doxologically flavoured, dogmatically charged work, Parkison pulls from a variety of disciplines to demonstrate Christ’s beauty, and the relevance of Christ’s beauty on Christian theology. Irresistible Beauty is the work of a synthetic generalist. It is not strictly a work of exegesis, though it will stand firmly on exegetical findings. It is not strictly a work of biblical theology, though it will be biblical–theological. It is not strictly a work of historical theology, though it will engage in theological retrieval of the church’s history. It is not strictly a philosophical work, though, driven by a love for wisdom, it will be irreducibly philosophical. Thus, this is a systematic–theological work in the full sense of the term—informed and shaped by these disciplines and informing and shaping the pursuit of them.
Irresistible Beauty is sure to stimulate readers who enjoy a wide range of topics: the philosophy of beauty, metaphysics, Classical Christian Theism, biblical theology, and a Protestant Reformed conception soteriology are all dealt with in this dense theological work. Parkison also converses with some of the greatest minds of Christian history (e.g., Athanasius, Hilary of Poitiers, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Basil the Great, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Francis Turretin, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, Herman Bavinck, Hans Urs von Balthasaar), making Irresistible Beauty a stimulating work for many a reader.