Dr. Jonathan W. Johnson
Course Instructor (Life Worth Living), Mentor Facilitator (Lead For Life)

Jonathan Johnson is an artist, aesthetic philosopher, and minister whose work investigates the crossroads of philosophy and religion and the conversations between East Asian and Western ideas. Having received his PhD at Hong Kong Baptist University on the topic of negative aesthetics – ugliness in particular – Jonathan has had his writings on Kantian ugliness published in both English and French. His research into negative aesthetics extends to the sublime, with a focus on Chinese sublime artworks (the shanshui 山水 paintings and writings of Guoxi 郭熙, and works of penjing 盆景). In this area he has contributed a translation of portions of Guoxi’s writings (Linquan Gaozhi 林泉高致) to Robert Clewis’ The Sublime Reader (2018), with whom he has written on the Chinese sublime in Philosophy East and West (Forthcoming, Spring 2025). At the crossroads of philosophy and religion, he has edited, along with Shun Hing Chan, Civil Society and Christian Religion in Greater China (2021), and recently written on the comparison of aesthetic intentionalism and religious originalism (Originalism in Theology and Law, 2024). As an artist, Jonathan has worked both as an illustrator and theatre designer, and his work features on the cover of Bertrand Naivin’s Sur La Laideur (2018). A passionate educator, Jonathan has taught numerous courses in general philosophy, religion, and aesthetics. His ongoing researches are in the areas of: Chinese aesthetics, the Chinese sublime (chonggao 崇高), negative aesthetics, philosophies of suffering, and ugliness and the problem of evil.