Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche, (3/3): The Aesthetics of Horror and the Splendor of God

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In this final exposition of Catholicism and the Gothic, we shall turn to the obvious in Gothic aesthetics and the quintessential characteristic of the traditional post-Carolingian aesthetic of Catholicism: The aesthetic of horror.

“Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom is an integral aspect to Christianity and Catholicism in general. The atmosphere, aesthetic, of Catholicism is mean to inculcate fear and dread for precisely that reason—fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and fear of the Lord crushes the hubris of man thinking he is on equal footing with God and forces him to recognize the radical asymmetry between God and man leading him but to bow his head in shame and humiliation, or pious reverence, at the sight of God.

While it was Edmund Burke’s attempt to defend the notion of the beautiful instead of the…

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