Profiting from the OT research programme held at the University of
South Africa during August 2010, this paper further investigates different
aspects of the concept of beauty in the Old Testament (OT).
The use of the concept of human beauty and the beauty of human
achievement is investigated in a broad variety of text types. Representative
texts are examined where the concept occurs as a literary
motif. It is found that human beauty, both erotic and non-erotic, as
well as the metaphorical use of the concept are intertwined with descriptions
of awe not only in the terminology, but also in the actual
use to which it is put in texts from practically all genres. It is concluded
that a coherent aesthetic is found in OT texts from different
periods, which remains stable despite diverging historical and theological
contexts. The contours emerging from the texts seem to
square with the Kantian concept of the beautiful and Goethe’s view
of the awesome.