On the one hand, the alliance of beauty and matter can be seen in a negative way: matter is subject to the mind; beauty in matter can be taken as an ultimate in itself, and can cause man to sin. On the other hand, the fact that matter can incarnate and, so to speak, mediate ultimate beauty, makes their alliance a very positive thing. Both approaches are present in St Augustine's thought, and are held together in a somewhat paradoxical and problematic way. The first, negative approach to matter and beauty predominated in his early theory and is never totally lost in his later thought. The second, more positive approach, though present in the early works, becomes increasingly important as his theology, especially his theology of the Fall, develops. This work has focused on Augustine's theological analysis of the beautiful in the context of his exposition of Christian doctrine.
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