A Reflection on Vision (for while I’m away)

I am currently in Vietnam visiting family and focusing all my attention on getting to know that culture, not on writing blog posts. In my absence, however, Transpositions, the blog associated with the University of Saint Andrews program in Theology, Imagination, and the Arts, has published an article that I wrote for them on Jackson Pollock and Gregory of Nyssa called “God’s Back: Jackson Pollock and the Beatific Vision.”

The article engages one of my favourite words: “vision.” I’m interested in the word because it can mean both something that one sees (you are a vision of loveliness) and the capacity to see (I wear glasses because my vision is poor). One word captures both that which is received and the act of receiving. It therefore seems to suggest a connection between those two aspects – what is seen and the act of seeing. And so a question emerges: Are there different types of visions (the capacity) appropriate to different types of visions (the seen)? Can that which is visually received in some way shape or change the act of seeing itself?

Certain artists and theologians seem to say “yes.”



Image: By Rhododendrites – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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