This book anchors its account of the beauty of Jesus Christ to a scheme found in St Augustine of Hippo's Expositions of the Psalms. There Augustine recognized the beauty of Christ at every stage-from his pre-existence ('beautiful in heaven'), through his incarnation, the public ministry ('beautiful in his miracles, beautiful in calling to life'), passion, crucifixion, burial, resurrection ('beautiful in taking up his life again'), and glorious life 'in heaven'. Augustine never filled out this laconic summary by writing a work on Christ and his beauty. The Beauty of Jesus Christ seems to be the first attempt in Christian history to write a comprehensive account of the beauty of Christ in the light of Augustine's list.
The work begins by offering a working description of what it understands by beauty as being perfect, harmonious, and radiant. Beauty, above all the divine beauty, enjoys inexhaustible meaning and overlaps with 'the holy' or the awesome and fascinating mystery of God. Loving beauty opens the way to truth and helps us grasp and practise virtue. The books needs to add some items to Augustine's list by recognizing Christ's beauty in his baptism, transfiguration, and post-resurrection sending of the Holy Spirit. It also goes beyond Augustine by showing how the imagery and language Jesus prepared in his hidden life and then used in his ministry witness to the beautiful sensibility that developed during his years at home in Nazareth.
Throughout, this book draws on the Scriptures to illustrate and justify Augustine's brief claims about the beauty revealed in the whole story of Christ, from his pre-existence to his risen 'post-existence'. Where appropriate, it also cites the witness to Christ's beauty that has come from artists, composers of sacred music, the creators of icons, and writers.