St. Bonaventure: Retracing the Arts to Theology

Saint Bonaventure, Vittorio Crivelli, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

As summarized by Bonaventure himself: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, says James in the first chapter of his epistle. These words of Sacred Scripture not only indicate the source of all illumination but they likewise point out the generous flow of the manifold rays which issue from that Fount of light. Notwithstanding the fact that every illumination of knowledge is within, still we can with reason distinguish what we may call the external light, or the light of mechanical art; the lower light, or the light of sense perception; the inner light, or the light of philosophical knowledge; and the higher light, or the light of grace and of Sacred Scripture. The first light illumines in regard to structure of artifacts; the second, in regard to natural forms; the third, in regard to intellectual truth; the fourth and last, in regard to saving truth.” Image links to translation of unknown origin. Hardcopy recommendation: The Works of Bonaventure, Opuscula, Second Series, translated by Jose de Vinck, St. Anthony Guild Press.

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