NOTES AND COMMENTS
What Are They For? Reading Recent Books on Augustine
Article first published online: 29 NOV 2012
© 2012 The Author. The Heythrop Journal © 2012 Trustees for Roman Catholic Purposes Registered
The Heythrop Journal
Volume 54, Issue 1, pages 101–119, January 2013
How to Cite
Holt, L. (2013), What Are They For? Reading Recent Books on Augustine. The Heythrop Journal, 54: 101–119. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2265.2013.00793.x
- Issue published online: 6 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 29 NOV 2012
Choosing the posthumously-published Augustine of Hippo: A Life by Henry Chadwick would not duplicate a biography you already have, possibly cut down, revised, or expanded. Instead, Augustine's tale is told anew in a characteristically graceful, learned, and readable manner, the usual topics treated with crisp brevity. Thus, Augustine in Milan requires a few pages to cover really all most undergraduates in a survey course would need to know about Manichaeism; what in Platonism Christians liked and disliked takes only a few more. For the first-time reader, perhaps as a companion to the Confessions, Chadwick's narrative of Augustine's pre-'confession’ years helpfully clarifies the intellectual and spiritual polyvalence of fourth century North Africa, Rome, and Milan. For others already familiar with Augustine's importance – well, as with familiar narratives, what is ‘new’ is the telling, and the new insights swell. Some will be sorry to see the Confessions discussed without reference to Augustine's self-conscious depiction of himself; and the Garden Incident is told straight as Augustine himself presents it (that is, without the gloss of text-critical scholarship of Augustine's self-promotional presentation of Augustine, crafted). The fine chapter on Donatism portrays the schism as an intractable partisanism most probably resolved only by Islamic invaders. A good read presents the usual rewards; this one may be especially appealing to those who know what all the ingredients are and simply intend to marvel at a master's masterful assemblage. Included on a course syllabus, some students might even keep it at the end of term.
Students might also keep A Reader's Companion to Augustine's ‘Confessions.’ Because the Confessions itself is the work to which students repeatedly return, this book also is worth having to hand. Editors Paffenroth and Kennedy have conjured effectively what would be a dream conference on the Confessions, with the added benefit of now having in one place for present reading and future reference these 13 papers, along with notes with full bibliographic material. Because any one reading of Augustine's masterwork is inadequate to encompass the sum of its meaning and revelations, these thirteen scholars each propose one of the books of the Confessions as its centre, its interpretive key, and/or the summary or epitome of the ideas expressed in the rest of the work – or it's turning point, or in some other way more important than the other books. For example, Charles Mathews identifies in Book 1 the ‘paradoxes of beginning’, which remembered ‘rightly’ are only understood retrospectively, and so when properly understood, foreshadow the logic of grace. ‘The capacity to tell the story is itself a kind of achievement or rather, a foreshadowing, of his redemption; it is in our recognition of our sin, our slowly dawning realization that our lives are fundamentally insane, that we first begin to see the workings of God's grace.’ John Cavadini shows how Augustine uses the coherence of the biblical accounts of creation, the fall, and also the Prodigal Son in Book 2 to frame the recollection and narration of his shadowy estrangement from God, centrally in his account of his youthful irrational theft of pears he really didn't want. The remembering, the narrating of the sad bitterness of empty companionship and loss exposes the chaotic descent into sin and self-destruction. Further, the late Thomas Martin finds a summary of Augustine's confession as exegetical project in Book 12. Granted, scripture has been present throughout: on seeing new possibilities in Ambrose's spiritual readings, scripture becomes an ‘alluring mystery’; and on taking up and reading Romans, he decides to change his life once and for all. Only in Book 12, however, does Augustine reveal that the entire project has been a work of exegesis. ‘Book Twelve offers us a reading key to the Confessions that turns out to be a reading key for the Bible.’ Exegesis is concerned with the text, as well as with a ‘community of truth, those who read or hear the text, and take it into their heart … The awareness [of the transcendence of the text] engenders awe, fear, and a call to conversion … Exegesis can only take place in a community of truth; in fact its final aim is nothing less than to create this community of faith,’ for it is Augustine's invitation that he may be with his readers and hearers in God (12.23.32). Similarly, but separately, each of these provocative essays argues that one of the books is Augustine's interpretive key.
Another collection of essays, Feminist Interpretations of Augustine edited by Judith Chelius Stark in the Re-Reading the Canon series is also a useful course book. Stark's introductory essay could be read on its own for a rehearsal of Augustine's life as set forth in Confessions. Is Augustine a mine or a minefield? She brings forward not unpredictably but freshly Augustine and women, notably his mother and his companion; the Holy Mother Church; feminist appraisals of key Augustinian themes, notably embodiment, and human sexuality. In ‘To Remember Self,’ Julie Miller portrays Augustine as addicted to love, not sex. He is indelibly marked by the loss of his own self he experienced in the deaths of those he loves – his friend, Monica, although oddly not Adeodatus. Using City of God and Literal Meaning of Genesis on Eve, on Adam, on ‘the first couple, in ‘loving too much,’ reflecting ‘a new paradigm of human relations in their fallen state, in which human attachments entail not only the loss of knowledge of God, but the loss of self. By loving each other too much, they brought the pain and suffering of loss of self into the human condition; ultimately they also ushered in death, the most complete and terrifying loss of self known to humanity.’ God's punishment is to abandon ‘the soul to itself,’ so that the soul becomes disobedient to the soul (City of God 14.15). ‘The soul is in constant conflict with itself. Emotions rage against reason, reason battles with the heart, the soul succumbs to worldly temptation in spite of itself. In such a state the human person can find no peace.’ Miller treats the constitution of the soul, following on Margaret Miles' insight that Augustine believed that ‘the soul is ultimately formed and shaped by the objects on which it focuses its visual attention.’ The image of what the eye sees is absorbed by the soul, and ‘held by the memory, the seat of all knowledge and hence, of the self.’ Augustine's treatise The Good of Marriage likens ejaculation and menstruation as symbols of the mind, turned from God, and therefore scattered, spilled, emptied and washed away, when the mind is not focused on God, it cannot remember its true nature, no longer knows itself, therefore cannot know God, and the self is lost. In Confessions 2.2.2 Augustine describes his experience of this dissipation, this loss of self and of God, which occurred in his adolescent relationships. If this is so in these mundane episodes, all the more this loss of self in sexual activity, for sexual activity ‘is quantitatively different … because of the inability to think. If we cannot think, we are forgetting God, and ‘since forgetting God is the root of all misery, it is certainly best to refrain from all sexual activity, if one is able,’ and hence the danger for Augustine of the loss of self in intimate relationships. Because the soul becomes dependent on the objects it absorbs by gazing on them, so terrible the loss of self when the object of such intense self-emptying love dies. What is left but emptiness?
But for Augustine, ‘continence’ is turning affections and longing toward God, remembering. Thence comes true knowledge of the self ‘as dependent wholly on God… . All knowledge resides in the memory; moreover, all knowledge is an activity of re-membering, of continence.’ When we forget (or fail to remember), ‘we no longer have knowledge of them.’ Augustine reflects on how the human self can reflect the image of God in de Trinitate 10.11.18. Collectively memory, understanding and will must work together (and are ‘mutually referred to one another’) in order for any ‘knowledge’ to happen; as such, they are not three substances but one. This, Augustine finds, is ‘the very image of God imprinted on our souls.’ We know God only from memory, for God has ‘deigned to reside in our memory’ – otherwise we would not know him. ‘All we need do is have the will to think on him, to remember him’ (10.28.39). The problem is that first we must remember ourselves – and so, back to Augustine's notion of continence. Continence, then, is more than controlling our passions; instead ‘it is a means of self-integration and self-control precisely because it is a method of gathering, or re-collecting, or re-membering one's self’ and doing so constantly means ‘one would never lose oneself.’ The difference between divine love and human love is this – just as God will not lose himself loving us, so we will not lose ourselves loving God.
The appeal of Augustine's Way into the Will: The Theological and Philosophical Significance of de Libero Arbitrio begins with Simon Harrison's disarming depiction of his delight encountering Augustine's de Libero Arbitrio, a purported dialogue between Evodius and Augustine. As if for readers impatient to know whether it is a unified work, or whether Augustine changed his mind, or if it is ‘early’ or ‘late,’ and so, what the treatise is, Harrison gently presses first for what words are used, and what they mean. Thus, when speaking about the existence and nature of God coincident with the existence of evil, the word ‘omnipotence; ‘is hardly used,’ and where modern readers might expect to see it, Augustine uses ‘providence’ instead. Figure 1, A map of lib.arb. summarises the entire argument. Figure 2, called simply ‘Books 1 and 3,’ draws dotted lines between premises from book 1 resolved in book 3. Appendix 1 is an outline of Books 1–3 presenting the essentials of each layer of Augustine's argument, objection, problem necessitating return to earlier questions, differences, and certainties. Appendix 2 is a study of the ‘Rule of Piety’ revealed in lib.arb. 3.5.12. Is it, as ‘most manuscripts in Green's apparatus read, regulam illam pietatis facile non mouebit,’ or – since Harrison has noted, ‘most, but not all’ – could it be, as Erasmus and contemporaries would have it, regula illa pietatis facile commonebit. Harrison's keen sleuthing is infectious. Having shown how the three books fit together, Harrison's subsequent chapters treat ‘Approaching the Will,’ ‘Understanding, Knowledge, and Responsibility,’ and ‘Facilitas, Difficultas, and Voluntas,’ before closing with examining 1.12.25 for ‘A Cogito-Like Argument?’ By the end, one can say that one's freedom and responsibility is right here, immutably to hand. Harrison finds the work ‘an account of human freedom and responsibility that is grounded in a deep sense of subjectivity.’ To think about (free) will is not having to choose between God's grace and the free choice of the will. ‘It is an exploration of what it is to think about and to understand anything at all, given on the only point of view that is open to us as our starting point – that of the first person singular.’ Patiently pointing along the way to (now that he has made it clear) self-evidents, Harrison demonstrates integrity of unity in the dialogue. Book 1 shows that Evodius has problems because of what he already believed. Book 2 introduces the relation between what one believes and what one understands, and advances to what we know of the will. We know how the will can be the ‘cause’ of sin, but why we will to sin is unanswerable because it is the antithesis to everything an intelligible answer should be. Book 3 elaborates on conclusions from the first two books, discussing necessity, the human condition, the free choice of the will, and such terms as voluntas, libido, and providentia. Augustine's argument is an ascending ladder of difficulty, as if book 1 is for beginners, book 2 for those with greater skill and knowledge, and book 3 for champions. Only at the third level are the most difficult and distressing questions about the kinds of necessity that relate to God's foreknowledge.
H. A. G. Houghton's enthralling Augustine's Text of John: Patristic Citations and Latin Gospel Manuscripts is something of a dark horse. The title suggests a narrow topic, of limited, specialist interest, yet by revealing what portions of the Old Latin and Vulgate Augustine knew and when he knew them, Houghton tells as much as is needed for this book while subtly shooting outward suggestions or applications to other work. Augustine uses these texts in his correspondence, in his treatises, and in his responses to opponents, and most notably in his sermons – during which he waves about a codex of the biblical book, indicating both his presumption that the people have the text too, and that they know the text as well! Part 1 depicts Augustine using the Gospels, showing how well Augustine knew the text by demonstrating how Augustine drew on his memory, frequently ‘flattening’ and then expanding upon the text. This method provided the means to discuss texts his opponents were using. It shows too how Augustine's voice very soon uses scripture more naturally, in that he uses it more from memory. Part 2 treats Augustine's Citations of John by means of analysis of selected works. Part 3 locates the Gospel of John in Augustine's works, presenting textual commentary. Each could stand alone in a course syllabus; together they present a marvellously rich picture of Augustine's passionately intellectual and religious engagement with and communication of the text. Undergraduates might well find much to their profit in Part 2 on the use of the Bible and the production of books in Augustine's time. Their teachers will find invaluable exposition and analysis in Part 3 on Augustine's biblical exposition and citation of texts. Those intrigued to know how this corpus was accomplished will relish Houghton's forensic depiction of evidence of what one might have surmised about Augustine's ‘substantial collection of both Greek and Latin codices which he frequently consulted,’ of his use in sermons of the same texts used in the lectionary, even ‘from the same copy.’ Houghton vivifies the teams of stenographers who as part of Augustine's (the church's) staff transcribed church services and public debates. And even though Augustine had teams of secretaries and friends to circulate his work widely, nonetheless Houghton finds evidence of circulation of unauthorized editions. Official copies were kept in Augustine's library at Hippo. Texts used by the stenographers seem to match what Augustine used; indeed, longer passages transcribed seem to have been drawn from an exemplar. Once the reader sees what Augustine is doing with the Johannine passages, it seems reasonable to extrapolate toward his use of other books of the Bible.
Enquiry into Augustine's intellectual conversion continues in books by Brian Dobell and Brian Stock. Dobell believes that Augustine's intellectual conversion did not occur in 386, as has been generally assumed, but not until the mid-390s. In fact, Dobell's aim is to prove that what he calls a Photinian error is implicated in Augustine's early Christology. His primary text is Confessions 7.9.11–7.21.27, but he also re-reads through those passages certain significant themes from Augustine's earlier works. For Dobell, Confessions 7.17.23 is referring not to a single, fleeting experience from the summer of 386, but to a type of ascent that played a central role in Augustine's writings from 387/8 to 391, and provided the raison d'être of his ambitious programme in the liberal disciplines'. The driving force which sustained him following his 386 turn is Photinus, whose followers denied the Incarnation, while Arians denied the Trinity. Focussing on the development in Christology from Augustine's earliest writings, Dobell argues that at first he held the way of authority of Photinus, then the way of reason and the ascent of the soul; only later came the Christology of the Incarnation, when c. 395 ‘Augustine will identify Jesus Christ as the very Word of God, and describe him as Redeemer of the sins of humanity through his death on the cross.’ Thus, ‘It is important to realize that Augustine does not say at this early stage that the authority of the incarnate Christ is necessary for salvation.’ At first, as confirmed in Conf. 7.19.25, Christ is the virtuous and wise man who serves as a moral intermediary, and not also God. The way of authority is a path to salvation. ‘Augustine's readers must face up to the problem,’ he asserts. That Augustine sincerely believed himself Catholic is not the same as orthodoxy.
Brian Stock's Augustine's Inner Dialogue The Philosophical Soliloquy in Late Antiquity argues that Augustine's soliloquising is not limited to his earliest works and the Confessions, but is also present in De Civitate Dei, De Trinitate, and many of his letters. Augustine uses internalised questions and answers both to interrupt and move the narrative. The inner dialogue or soliloquy develops as Augustine's most fruitful means of spiritual exercise. In some places only a few lines appear as asides to himself; in others, longer, and more formal soliloquising or dialogue with Reason comprise this presentation of information. Augustine develops ‘a consistent philosophy of narrative between roughly 386 and 400’, and Stock observes how Augustine applies this philosophy to his conception of the self and his ‘approach to metaphysical questions during the period in which theology replaced philosophy as the major discipline occupying his scholarly interests’. Tactfully brushing to one side what he calls ‘an impression of intellectual disorderliness’ and ‘the lack of disciplined thinking’ and ‘rickety construction’ that have perplexed and annoyed students of these works, Stock argues that Augustine's ‘calculated decentering is to illustrate the sorts of problems which arise when philosophical or theological questions are discussed in an open forum.’ Augustine proposes that these difficulties can be eliminated, at least in part, when the external dialogue is replaced by the soliloquy or inner dialogue. What is more, Augustine shows that using the contrast between outer and inner dialogues becomes a way to dramatise his thinking about words in themselves, and how understanding the development from unspoken thought to the word spoken and heard in real time constitutes the means to see ‘that there is a hierarchy of types of words leading from spoken words to the interior words of thought, and finally to the Word of God’. Stock observes, for example, how Augustine approaches the philosophical problem of time through language; that is, by considering how the formation of words derive from a perception of sounds which, thanks to memory, are given meaning. Both the meaning and the moment meaning is perceived are important because their conjunction coincides with an apparent suspension of time. The problem is presented in an inner dialogue; its solution concerns inner meaning; and both ‘are aspects of the same subject, the literary form of exposition in this case paralleling the argument by which the problem is solved … Augustine becomes convinced … that it is the narrative, experiential, and inward dimensions of our lives which principally characterise consciousness as he reasons about the temporal element in a line of verse, so he reasons about the role of time in our conception of ourselves’. While much of what Augustine is doing suggest modern understandings of introspection, Stock, reminds readers that Augustine's notion of his inner life is integral to his Christian faith. The point of Augustine's inquiries is knowledge of the self ultimately in relation to God. Augustine returns repeatedly both to the form and these central ideas; he become increasingly accomplished utilising this ‘literary form’, even as over the course of years his initial optimism becomes tentative and circumspect. Augustine's example increasingly relies on Biblical examples, which he mines for exemplars to support his exposition of the search for permanent values. Withal Stock sees these inner dialogues as ‘spiritual exercises’ that represent real exploration in Augustine's religious and intellectual selfhood.
Paula Fredriksen's Augustine and the Jews is the sort of book from which nearly any university student (or her parents) might come close to getting ‘what it was really like,’ even come closer to answering the still-distressing question, How and why did relations between Christians and Jews become so terrible? Fredriksen's engaging style asks lots of questions, and sets about answering them, even explaining that a digression will ultimately reach the answer. So, she says, the answer begins with the legacy of Alexander the Great. At issue was not that the other peoples' gods did not exist, for Romans ‘called out’ their opponents' gods to come over to them and ancient Jews lived in the same world and with the same gods as their pagan contemporaries in metropolitan landscapes as busy and varied as modern London, New York, or Los Angeles. Unlike, the modern city as a neutral space inhabited by its many peoples, in antiquity the city was defined by its public and communal religious rituals that assured well-being. To be a citizen meant honouring the cult of the city's gods and the cult of the emperor. To neglect these responsibilities would be impious, putting the people in jeopardy of divine wrath and such dangers as drought, earthquake or war. Jews, having already settled all over the Mediterranean and absorbed the Greek language and culture, were excused from these rites because of their own ancestral customs and literature. The majority culture respected ancestral traditions, showing pagan allowances for Jews as well as Jews serving in civic roles and even as patrons of pagan festivals. After this scene-setting re-telling, Fredriksen turns to the familiar Augustine as heretic, as sojourner (Milan), as convert, as theologian, illumined by her soft-pedalled but substantive hermeneutic of location of Jews in each of these phases. Thus, Augustine as heretic provides a view of Manichaeism in which the loathed Catholics were the same as Jews. For ‘in their continuing blindness to Manichaean truth, their promiscuous retention of the Jewish books, and their own obdurate fleshiness, Catholic Christians were not merely ‘like’ Jews. In all the ways that mattered most – in the interpretation and living out of Christian truth – these people were Jews.' Once he becomes Catholic, Augustine's treatment of Jews develops from his questions first raised when preparing commentaries on Paul. At first he stopped to ask his own questions, of Jerome and others – were Peter and Paul feigning, or had subsequently the text been corrupted? Mindful of her post-modern secularised readers, Fredriksen explains that Augustine's exegesis is sharpened in disputation (contra Faustus). Moreover, ‘Augustine ‘does history’ by interpreting biblical texts according to the doctrine of his church, not by doing research. What makes his biblical theology ‘historical’ … is his emphasis on taking the ‘past’ conveyed in the biblical story as the interpretive framework for the meanings that he offers. Reading scripture ad litteram to Augustine meant that he interpreted scripture's figuratively meaningful texts ‘with reference to the past,’ as well as to the (Christian) future.’ Fredriksen exegetes Against Faustus's sumptuous sacramental and ecclesiological imagery, observing repeatedly that the mark of Cain was not for Augustine a mark of shame, but a warning to others that it is a mark of divine protection for a particular group of Roman citizens. Augustine found ‘texts that praised the Law, that rejoiced in the giving of the Law, and that pronounced the Law and its observances good.’ The Law and the gospel ‘are neither opposites nor alternatives’; instead, they are ‘two historically specific modes of a single divine initiative of redemption. This conviction, attained in part through his study of Tyconius, undergirded Augustine's four stages of salvation history.’ In itself, Augustine's Christological interpretation of the Law is not much different from that of Justin Martyr, ‘but Augustine's typology becomes radically innovative … Not only [was] the Law itself … good, but also … the Jewish understanding of the Law as enacted by Israel and as described in the Bible was also good… . This simple assertion was revolutionary.’ In other words, the Jews were not small-minded mimics of idol worshippers (and worse); instead they had done just what God had commanded them to do. ‘God, he maintained, did not speak only in allegories when he gave Israel his Law.’ Fredriksen shows how Augustine's confrontation with Faustus ‘brilliantly integrated his defence of catholic dogma and scripture with a startlingly original and positive apologetic for ancient Jewish practice,’ while also asking what of Augustine's Jewish contemporaries and current Jewish practice? Reminding readers that Augustine's observations about the Jews ‘often depended on what he needed to say in order to get his argument where he wanted it to go,’ thus while probing how it is that no king or emperor has succeeded in vanquishing the Jews as a distinct group, ‘Augustine attributes these two singular facts of Jewish existence to God himself. If it is God who scatters the Jews to punish them for the death of his on, it is also God who protects the Jews and God who has also ensured that other nations know that it is he who protects them. Protects them how? (And from what?) God, explains Augustine, has placed upon the Jewish people the ‘mark of Cain.’ In the end, Fredriksen asks whether it is possible to ‘move beyond the rhetoric to see a measure of social reality’ in order to learn how Augustine felt about his actual Jewish contemporaries. She delves for argument from silence in three ‘episodes of violent religious repression that occurred during the middle years of Augustine's episcopacy … the imperially sponsored coercion of North African pagans … , duress inflicted on Donatist Christians by church and state acting in concert … , the forced conversion to catholic Christianity of the 540 Jewish residents of Magona …’ In contrast to what Augustine does say regarding the coercion of both pagans and Donatists, Fredriksen finds it remarkable that there is no evidence of his arguing in favour of coercion of Jews.
In Augustine's Early Theology of the Church: Emergence and Implications, 386–391, David C. Alexander writes about the development of Augustine's understanding of ‘Catholic,’ observed in Rome, experienced in Milan, and come to fruition in Thagaste. Alexander's ‘general assumption is that Augustine's development was not primarily based on input [sources] but stimulated by input [experience, observations, and intentions].’ By looking to Augustine's earliest works for the origins of his ecclesiology rather than beginning with the Donatist controversy, Alexander's contribution is his attention to Augustine's early years as a Catholic in the formation of his ecclesiology. His is the sort of study which might raise eyebrows, due to presumed lack of evidence. Because Augustine does not present any systematic ecclesiology during this period, Alexander has extrapolated Augustine's thought on the church from his discussions that variously relate the church to his ascetic, pedagogic, and spiritual development in these years. Alexander's interest in the processes, the emergent forms, and coalescence of ideas which developed into his later ecclesiology suggests ‘a kind of historical preface to works on Augustine's ecclesiology proper.’ His Cassiciacum venture was marked by such basic elements of a religious lifestyle as prayer and the reading of scripture; Augustine emerges as a Christian philosopher, headed for baptism in Milan confident of the integration of Catholic Christian authority and Neoplatonic reason. After his baptism, Augustine considered himself dedicated to service to God, and afterwards at Rome, he ‘adopted the role of defender of Catholic teaching and practice against his former co-religionists, the Manichees. This adoption marks a significant point in Augustine's personal and ecclesial development that reflected his personal concerns; his identification with the catholic communion, teaching, and church; and his concern to work for the church.’ In these years, Augustine was busy undertaking informal but circulated Christian teaching and exegesis. His attention to Manichaean attacks on the Old Testament directly influenced and spurred his theological speculation. By 390/391 everything he did was ‘as a Christian and as part of the service of God,’ with increasing emphasis on ‘religion; and ‘the religious life.’ Augustine's writings reveal a developing conception of the ‘true religion’ disseminated by the teaching and preaching church (of individual churches) spread through the world, and whose significant elements include the absorption of Neoplatonism into the Christian religion and the presentation of the Christian religion in history in relation to other religious groups. Augustine's increasing familiarity with ecclesial institutions and structures and his increasing status as a ‘force in the intellectual life of Christian Africa,’ put him in jeopardy of ‘being forced into episcopal office.’ Alexander traces to the last year at Thagaste the coalescence of Augustine's teaching on ‘the Catholic teacher, the articulation of the church as one communion of charity made up of smaller communities of charity, all based on the unity of God and the Christian paradigm of the great commandment.’ Useful appendices include word studies of these stages – episcopus, presbyter, deaconus, hardly appear at first, then gradually increase. Interestingly, the minimal employment of clerical terms in these works even while the ecclesial terms become increasingly prevalent, reinforces Alexander's view ‘that while Augustine came to greater understanding and proximity to the church, … he did not gravitate towards ecclesiastical positions.’ Augustine's use of the term ‘catholic’ also evolves in these years, from its use as if of a fact in comparison with a heretic in Rome, to its use as ‘church Catholic’ as a universal teacher and place of healing, as well as ascetic communion, as the church spread throughout the world, and ‘the preaching and institutional processes by which the church disseminated true religion.’ Alexander's fine book is a revision of his Edinburgh doctoral thesis directed by the late David Wright. My only objection is the glossy but slipshod binding which I hope is not being foisted on libraries; pages fell out of my review copy.
Roland Teske's translations comprise two volumes of The Manichean Debate, presenting in English Augustine's polemical writings against the Manichaeans. Even though so many of his other works arguably refute Manichaean teachings, together, here are works which Augustine wrote with the intention of refuting Manichean teaching. Volume 19 contents are ‘The Catholic Way of Life and the Manichean Way of Life’ (388–389), ‘The Two Souls (391–395),’ ‘A Debate with Fortunatus (392),’ ‘Answer to the Letter of Mani known as the Foundation (c.396),’ ‘The Nature of the Good,’ ‘Answer to Adimantus, a Disciple of Mani (before 391),’ ‘Answer to Felix, a Manichean (404),’ and ‘Answer to Secundinus (after 404).’ The latter three have not been translated to English before. Volume 20 comprises Augustine's ‘Answer to Faustus, a manichean (c. 400).’ Teske's thorough General Introduction and his cogent introductions together situate each text. Very brief footnotes mostly provide scriptural and other ancient references. Related excerpts from Retractationes are adjacent to each text. Both indices are listed by text. Reading ‘The Catholic Way of Life and the Manichaean Way of Life,’ with my undergraduate students sparked significantly more engaged discussions than I had previously experienced using the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers' late 19th century English. Gone are the stilted prose and the Victorian editors' section-headings which students had regularly mistakenly assumed were Augustine's. Instead, Augustine's argument – agonized as it may at times be – generally feels more familiar because the language feels clearer. See the following example from both editions to get the flavour of each.
What more do you want? Why do you rage in ignorance and impiety? Why do you upset uneducated souls with your harmful views? There is one God of the two Testaments. For, just as those testimonies that we quoted from the two Testaments are in harmony with one another, so the others are as well, if you are willing to pay attention to them carefully and with an unbiased mind. But many things are said in a rather lowly manner and in a way better suited to minds that creep along the ground in order that they may rise through what is human to what is divine, and many things are also said in a symbolic manner in order that a studious mind may have more useful exercise in the questions it asks and may have richer delight in the answers it finds. And so you misuse the marvellous providential plan of the Holy Spirit to deceive and ensnare your hearers. It would take a long time to discuss why divine providence allows you to do this and how truthfully the apostle said, It is necessary that there may be many heresies in order that the tried and true among you may become known (1 Cor 11:19), and, as has to be said to you, it is beyond your ability to understand these things. After all, I am not lacking knowledge of you. For you bring minds that are too sense and sick, because of the deadly food of bodily images, to pronounce judgment on the things of God, which are much more lofty than you think’ (The Catholic Way of Life, 1.17.30).
What more do you wish? Why do you resist ignorantly and obstinately? Why do you pervert untutored minds by your mischievous teaching? The God of both Testaments is one. For as there is an agreement in the passages quoted from both, so is there in all the rest, if you are willing to consider them carefully and impartially. But because many expressions are undignified, and so far adapted to minds creeping on the earth, that they may rise by human things to divine, while many are figurative, that the inquiring mind may have the more profit from the exertion of finding their meaning, and the more delight when it is found, you pervert this admirable arrangement of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of deceiving and ensnaring your followers. As to the reason why divine Providence permits you to do this, and as to the truth of the apostle's saying, ‘There must needs be many heresies, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you,’ it would take long to discuss these things, and you, with whom we have now to do, are not capable of understanding them. I know you well. To the consideration of divine things, which are far higher than you suppose, you bring minds quite gross and sickly, from being fed with material images. (On the Morals of the Catholics, 1.17.30)
My only objection: That these treat morals is implicit, but as with anything that is implicit, not everyone ‘gets’ it. When assigned ‘Of the Morals of the Catholic Church’ and ‘Of the Morals of the Manicheans,’ students new to the topic knew from the titles that they were about to read moral theology; now they need to be told to have in mind the author's concern for the morals of his audience before taking up an assignment to read ‘The Catholic Way of Life’ and the ‘Manichean Way of Life.’
Scholars of early Christian liturgies will welcome another translation, this one Thomas Macy Flynn's Ancient Christian Writers series Quodvultdeus of Carthage: The Creedal Homilies Conversion in Fifth Century North Africa. Flynn's tidy volume contains his translations of Sermones de symbolo I-III heretofore assigned to Augustine (PL 40.337–68), but which are ‘now convincingly assigned to Quodvultdeus.’ Flynn leads with an engaging commentary essay which vivifies Quodvultdeus of Carthage, heretofore perhaps hazily recollected as one of Augustine's correspondents in the 420s. Not much can be said with certainty about Quodvultdeus, apart from what emerges in some correspondence in 428–429, Augustine's dedication of de haeresibus ad Quodultdeum, and a commendable mention in the report by Victor of Vita of the 439 Vandal invasion of Carthage. Quodvultdeus was born c. 390, well-educated, deacon to Bishop Aurelius in Carthage c. 420, assistant bishop to Capreolus c. 435, and his successor as bishop c. 437. These three homilies on the creed were preached in the 430s within the ecclesiastical practices of preparation, baptism, and catechesis. Quodvultdeus expounds the tenets of the Creed with suitable fervor, while relating their ritual experience to what the catechumens would know from their lives in ‘a city beset by internal religious division as it must gradually face the brutalities of Geiseric and the Vandals’ who conquered Carthage in 439. In 1914 Dom G. Morin first attributed a dozen Pseudo-Augustine homilies to Quodvultdeus, including these three, whose structure and content Flynn admits show Quodvultdeus' indebtedness to Augustine and thereby gauge Augustine's ‘distinctive pastoral influence … on his North African colleagues, especially in catechesis, doctrine, and hermeneutics.’ Quodvultdeus preached to his competentes amid frightful religious turmoil. ‘Catholics were in the ascendant because of the Theodotian enforcement of Catholic Christianity as the religion of the empire.’ Jews who lived in Carthage were descendants of traders who became established from the second century BCE, but the violence of Quodvultdeus' rhetoric transforms them to the Jews of the New Testament. Although Donatists and Arian Christians were sharply divided, Flynn notes Augustine's reference to Donatists' alliance with Manichaeans, Arians, and Jews against the Catholics. Quodvultdeus chides pagans and paganism for their idols, but especially for their addictive, devilish culture so long permeating Carthage, which he likens to ‘a cloud of blinding smoke that makes the spectator forget he is even human.’ He is wary of ‘Arriani’, whom Flynn identifies as ‘Homoians,’ who gave precedence to the Father (as sender) over the Son and Holy Spirit (who were sent) and whose recruiters either paid or forced potential converts, and then, like Donatists, rebaptised any Catholics among them. ‘Do not permit the Arian heretic to revile the church. He is a wolf, recognize it; he is a serpent, dash his head. He flatters, but deceives; promises a lot, but defrauds’ (de symb. 1.13.10). The Jews are ‘the shifty ones’ (de symb. 1.10.14) who have misunderstood God's revelation. Sadly, budgets being what they are the ACW apparatus looks a bit thin, compared with the Translation for the 21st Century. Although the bibliography and expansive endnotes are helpful, there is no Index of Scripture, and the subject Index does not provide text references, only page numbers.
Luigi Gioia's The Theological Epistemology of Augustine's De Trinitate begins with observation that Augustine's many digressions challenge readers to remain focussed on the unity and coherence of a book that Augustine wrote over the course of some 20 years. The only way to make sense of the unity and cohesion of De Trinitate is to approach the work from whatsoever perspective is required in order to explain how to come to know the God of Jesus Christ. Gioia sees de Trinitate as ‘a full-scale search for a language to talk about the core of Christian faith’ set within what Gioia calls Augustine's ‘critical standards which secure a genuine theological character to this enquiry and a distinctively Christian evidence and credibility to it.’ Gioia argues that Augustine's purpose is to discuss the knowledge of God, begun by Augustine's reflections (from the beginning) on the practice of the knowledge of God, and then, only retrospectively, from a theologically-ruled critical point of view. Gioia calls this ‘theological epistemology’ and sets out to ‘treat epistemological questions as a function of the doctrine of the Trinity’ which Gioia has found in Augustine's presentation. Augustine seems to present a point of junction between theological and philosophical questions, and Theology, Gioia argues, must attend to Philosophy's question. As soon as the theologian wonders, Who is God the Trinity?, the philosopher asks How do we know God? To say simply ‘Through revelation’ is exact but insufficient. The approach to God is dependent upon recognition of the role of the reader as subject – that is, as subjective to God as creator, revealed in scripture in relationship of the covenant. The role of conversion in knowing God is what extent it is possible to speak properly about the knowledge of God. Moreover, ‘the principle of God's unknowability appears the touchstone of theological epistemology and explains why knowledge of God can only be Trinitarian. For the Father to reveal himself while remaining unknowable, we need Christ and the Holy Spirit.’ Augustine's De Trinitate accomplishment reverses the relationship between the understanding of the ‘object’ and ‘subject’ of knowledge. God is the ‘object’ – known and loved through Christ through the Holy Spirit – means that God is himself the real subject who presents his own self-knowledge. For Gioia, the purpose of De Trinitate, its pivot, is Augustine's promise to ‘lead his reader to perceive the essence of truth.’ Gioia notes that Augustine's pedagogy consistently makes use of ‘abstract’ terms that shield deeper theological meaning. Thus, to say that readers are to perceive the essence of truth, Augustine is encouraging them to perceive the essence of God. Similarly, Augustine says, ‘You do see the Trinity if you see Charity’ – that is, you see love in the knowledge of God. Hence, Gioia concludes that Love comes first because ‘the inner life of the Trinity is a life of love (dilectio) and the substantial unity of the Trinity is a unity of love.’ Since through the Holy Spirit the Father and Son dwell in each other, this loving inner life of God is, Gioia argues, the ‘starting point theologians have been so anxious to identify in Augustine's De Trinitate and the real explanation of the filioque. Because he is the common charity through which the Father and Son love each other, and are related to each other, although proceeding principally from the father, the Holy Spirit derivatively proceeds from the Son as well.’ Love comes first in Christology and soteriology because the Incarnation is the way that ‘the Son extends his personal union in love with the Father in the Holy Spirit to the human nature he assumes.’ Love is the essence of his mediation and his sacrifice. ‘Christ's death on the cross is acceptable to his Father … because of his love for the Father in the Holy Spirit, and restores for humanity the possibility of knowing again, in Christ, a sacrifice acceptable to the Father, again in the Holy Spirit.’ Gioia follows a thematic approach to unpacking Augustine's treatise, tackling, for example, Augustine's soteriology, and then finding illustrations in book to book. A student writing an essay on, say, Christ's relation to the Father in De Trinitate could turn to Gioia's study as a resource. Throughout Gioia touches on luminous truisms, noting for example that knowledge and love are ‘unintelligible’ without each other. The problem of conversion of the will from covetousness to love concerns redemption, science, and wisdom. ‘The conversion of our love is described [in De Trinitate 14.23] as a process which depends on knowledge of the justice and the holiness of truth. Once again, such abstract terms refer to theological realities and more precisely to the justice and the holiness of Christ, particularly in his redeeming activity.’ At times he likens his own task to Augustine's obligation to explain the knowledge of God to philosophers, and so he locates the most important aspect of Augustine's view toward philosophy in Augustine's Christology. The material is so important that he strains at precision, often rehearsing what he has done so far, followed by summary highlighting the difficulties. At times it feels rather like reading a gracious prose rendering of an exquisite poem. Gioia is responding to such western theologians as Barth who ‘deplore Augustine's unfortunate deviation from the traditional approach to the mystery of the Trinity. [Instead Gioia's monograph is] devoted to disproving DuRoy's conclusion not only with regard to his interpretation of the De Trinitate, but also to crucial aspects of his account of the genesis of Augustine's Trinitarian thought.’ Instead, Gioia follows Rowan Williams, viewing the knowledge of God from the actuality of humankind in relationship with God, and not from its mere possibility. Humanity in ‘concrete’ relation to God is the starting point of any talk about what we are and what God the Trinity is ands becomes for us. Gioia treats at length what Augustine does, its origins, how Augustine does it, and what others have done with Augustine. It is a slow burn, a long walk to the dénouement. Only in chapter 7 does Gioia present his own thought. It is aim to analyze books 5–7 according to Augustine's own description at the beginning of book 8 of books 5–7 as contentio. The Trinity is inseparability a treatise of theology and philosophy – as the ‘outcome of Augustine's life-long criticism of those who pretend to be able to philosophise without Christ.’
Robert Dyson's graceful, patient Augustine of Hippo: The Christian Transformation of Political Philosophy presents distinctions that any reader can readily grasp. Focusing primarily on Augustine's influence on medieval political discourse, Dyson's version of Augustine's biography offered for the sake of a reader unfamiliar with Augustine's influence on the development of western religious and political philosophy is comprehensive, insightful, and judiciously brief. Augustine's contribution to the history of political thought is important because he engages so comprehensively with political and ethical presuppositions. So doing, his critique of Rome's moral and political traditions in de civitate Dei ‘corrects Rome's long-cherished evaluation of herself as the Eternal City whose law, justice, and peace are the leaven of civilization.’ Because his assessment of late antiquity helped shape the shift from empire to the res publica Christiana of medieval Europe, readers learn that his thought has been among the most influential in the development of medieval political thought. Dyson seines Augustine's religious writings to yield his political theory. Motifs remain influential through the 14th century, and further: his notions of the two cities; of political power as exemplar of selfish, deplorable human behaviour; of humankind's helplessness without divine grace through the Church; and of the suitability of intervention of Church leaders to persuade secular authorities to use civic power of religious ends. Perhaps for the sake of those secular readers unfamiliar with Christianity, its history, or Augustine's situation and legacy, Dyson first identifies a preliminary Christian task as the conversion of unbelievers. Dyson's sketch of the early church as if monolithic is perhaps too simple, but even to allude to its pre- and even post-Constantinian eastern and western permutations would perhaps distract from his purposes. Unapologetically utilising anachronistic terminology that makes sense to modern readers, Dyson describes Augustine as ‘the first Christian author’ to articulate the challenging implications of Christian theological anthropology for social and political life. Dyson punctuates his chapters with the sort of summary statements that students notice and treasure (they will think, These are the nubs, This is what I will need to remember) and for which their teachers may be thankful (This is what they will see, and one hopes, remember). For its purposes as a teaching-text, Dyson's book is not Augustine-lite, but rather a presentation of aspects of his life and thought that I might describe as ‘essentialised.’ For example, his brief review of natural law and ethics includes both the classical pre-Christian ancestry and subsequent Christian re-phrasing. Dyson explains that Augustine expands and synthesizes earlier Christians' ponderings, but most importantly modifies this thought ‘in the light of the view of human nature that the Christian faith appears to require.’ Augustine's melding of elements from Platonism and Stoicism refined by Christian cosmology and anthropology predicates provisional human institutions modelled imperfectly on the providential order of nature. His morality depends on a single precept ‘in which lower-order principles of right conduct are contained: that we should behave toward others as we would wish them to behave towards us.’ Pagan society ordered thusly would know peace, as God intends. Sadly, humankind can use reason's moral apprehension of this truth, and despite being endowed with a will to live accordingly can and does fail to apply it. Fortunately ‘under suitable conditions’ a moral education can guide people toward ways that are personally and socially beneficial, ‘and the task of political philosophy is to identify what those conditions are and prescribe them.’ Dyson steers his reader through Q and A. Why did they fall if creation is good? What is evil? Why is the inclination of the natural order toward imperfection? Why did God create humans with free will and thus with the capacity to harm themselves? Why choose disobedience? Why is the sin of the first humans still impugned to all subsequent generations? Why is the present condition of humans ‘traceable’ to Adam and Eve? If sin is the only free choice of the will, how free is the human will? Does Augustine's insistence that ‘reason must yield ultimately to faith’ negate philosophy's view that human rationalisation can uncover substantive truths? Augustine agrees that reason is a moral faculty, but argues that a Christian denies that the human will is or can be made righteous by its own means. Fallen human nature is irretrievably hobbled by sin's attraction to unrighteousness. Faith is primary and reason is secondary. Reason can pursue philosophical enquiry fruitfully. Thus he shows that Augustine depends on scriptural authority without explaining why it must be accepted that Scripture is authoritative – and that from that referent Augustine will show that it is by ‘reflection upon the omniscience of God that we discover an important truth – indeed, the important truth – about the Divine economy … God knew from the beginning that the Fall would happen … God in his omniscience knows that we will freely will. God foreknew the entry of sin into the world, but did not will it’ and ‘the grace of God restores at least the possibility of righteous conduct … gratia data, … is an unmerited gift, conferred upon a few chosen – predestined… . marked out from all eternity … Grace is the necessary condition for all right choice.’ Dyson's is a teachable book, the sort that teachers hope they will keep, a book that students will underline in that way students have of slowing down to read each phrase, hoping the pen will ease taking hold of its meaning. Dyson puts forth the teachings in condensed by highly legible format that even those unfamiliar with Augustine or even with Christianity can absorb as fundamental questions presented with Augustine's answers that in turn suggest further questions that the reader would bring forward for further discussion. These are admittedly questions that might frustrate the students only because the ideas might be so foreign to 21st century twenty-year-olds, and yet do so resolutely affect even contemporary political (and religious) reasoning. Dyson's is a book that presents rather than argues – serving by bringing forward in not many pages these very useful aspects of Augustine's thought. Dyson concludes insisting that to speak of Augustine's ‘political’ thought with caution, not least because his views arise in response to other concerns, and not in a systematically developed theory. These views about the State, about property, slavery, war, and temporal and spiritual power are incidental and contingent. Therefore ambiguities about these topics occur in his works. Nevertheless, these views do comprise a Christian transformation of political philosophy. Augustine takes what is known to show that it doesn't work, and why, refashioning them in light of Christian revelation to a Christian philosophy of politics, or a ‘political theology’. Classically trained and Christian, Augustine knows that the stain of sin on all humanity makes impossible Aristotle's ethical fulfilment and rational happiness through membership in a political community. Humankind can only achieve moral good by the grace of God. The Christian is obliged to live with fidelity to God. The Christian bides his or her time as pilgrim – but without means to assure one's status among assure one's status among those bound for the City of God. For Augustine, Dyson insists, ‘true justice and peace are ideas … they exist only in heaven; they will be apprehended in their completeness only when this world's history is at an end.’
Brian Harding approaches his topic Augustine and Roman Virtue with the zeal of an iconoclastic dissertationist. This is not faint praise, for the dramatic excitement of conviction of a new insight surely vivifies academic work as much as it drives it. But of course, too, for the author there is so much that must be included to prove that you know it. Thus, Harding challenges assumptions derived from Machiavelli, Hume, and Hadot, and Milbank, who ‘presuppose a ‘sacralisation thesis’ whereby Christianity interrupts antiquity as a heteronymous force that overwhelms and undermines antique virtue, replacing it with a ‘scared theology’ consisting of superstitious fears and humility.’ His focus is Augustine whose ‘critique of ancient accounts of virtue effects a legitimate transformation of philosophy’ exemplifies the transition between antiquity and the Middle Ages. Harding's penetrating reading of Augustine's Roman sources leads to his reviews, first of Augustine's critique of Roman civic virtue and of Roman philosophical virtue. Roman civic virtue for Augustine is the virtue Romans see in the great citizens, soldiers and political leaders. Philosophical virtue for Augustine is what philosophers describe in their theories. What is true virtue, in contrast, is the virtue of a Christian. To Harding, in City of God Augustine shows his pagan readers that the first two are false, ‘pseudo-virtues.’ Harding's book would have readers be(come) convinced that reason and faith are not opposites, but in Augustine's writings are shown to work together, although the relationship ‘must be understood properly.’ (Uh-oh …). Revelation, Harding writes, ‘becomes one of those things that one reasons about just as nature and virtue were for the ancients.’ Harding keeps returning to medieval thinkers' cognizance of the limits to philosophy, and shows that Augustine's medieval followers did not simply sacralise Roman philosophy. Reason worked hard trying to reason about God, and so-doing built muscles it otherwise would not have ‘in the way long-distance running or weight-lifting does; the goal – knowledge of divine and human things – is always further away.’ For Harding, Augustine's philosophy is a continuation without its pretensions, not the sacralisation of reason. On the other hand, modernity reveals itself breaking down the ancient project completely. Harding would have philosophy abandon the Kantian trap that instrumentalises religious doctrine that moralises religion ‘as ethical postulate.’ ‘Instead, for Harding, to understand Augustine properly, one must see him in continuity with the ancient attempts to understand things human and divine, while also moving on from traditional claims of such pursuit as the path to happiness.
To Know God and the Soul brings together essays from that last quarter century of Augustinian scholarship by Roland J. Teske, SJ. In these days of electronic delivery via interlibrary loan of articles from journals that not every library can afford to have, it is still worthwhile for the sake of the convenient assembly within one binding of the thoughtful, carefully argued, expansively foot-noted crème of this American Jesuit's scholarship. It can be useful to have a collection of articles by a scholar of Teske's stature in one place, all the more to have the set introduced by retrospective observations that effectively serve as road maps into each piece. This is an admirable way to retain in collection what is substantive in these articles and what is current in Teske's reading, thereby suggesting to his readers paths for further research, grounded in the findings and methodology of his work. It is the author's intention that Augustine scholars read To Know God and the Soul as a collection somewhat like Augustine's Retractationes but different. Like Retractationes in that Teske rather briefly reviews past work, brings it forward with introductions that contextualise the matter at hand, and moreover indicates in some cases where he ‘may have overstated or understated my position or failed to be sufficiently aware of or open to other views.’ For example, had he ‘known the anti-Pelagian works better, some of my earlier articles would have had a different slant, for example, on the meaning of ‘spiritual person,’ though what I wrote remains true for the early works, even if it does not present the whole truth for the later Augustine.’ Although Augustine's Retractationes were chronological, Teske has found it fruitful to arrange thematically his 1992 Villanova Saint Augustine lecture plus thirteen additional articles spanning twenty-five years of his career from 1981 to 2000. Thus, for example, the four essays on ‘Augustine and Neoplatonism’ are his 1992 ‘Augustine as Philosopher: The Birth of Christian Metaphysics,’ his 1986 ‘The Aim of Augustine's Proof That God Truly Is’; his 1984 ‘Spirituals and Spiritual Interpretation in Augustine,’ and his 1986 ‘Love of Neighbor in Augustine.’ Even though his introductions are rarely more than a half-page in length, it is Teske's hope is that his reflections on these, what he regards as his best work, will be seen to be as honestly self-appraised as Augustine's works were. In most cases these introductions refer to his further thinking which the passage of time has allowed. Thus, these few examples give the Retractationes-like flavour of Teske's remarks.
‘I perhaps did not give sufficient credit to Saint Ambrose, whose preaching was certainly imbued with such Neoplatonic ideas, but I still believe that the books of the Platonists provided Augustine with the ability to articulate such philosophical concepts …’
‘I wrote this article before becoming aware that Augustine came to another understanding of the opposition between the spirit and the letter … [but] what I wrote still remains valid …’
‘I still believe that Augustine gave us a definition of time in conf. 11 and that the concept of a world-soul with which individual souls are somehow one is necessary to save his view of time from subjectivism … I had not, however, paid sufficient attention to some aspects of the Plotinian doctrine of the fall of the soul …’
‘At the time I wrote this article, I had not worked my way through the anti-Pelagian works with Augustine's later understanding of human freedom under divine grace. Had I done so, I could perhaps have come to a better understanding of God's freedom in a Platonist context. Despite that, I think that the main contentions of the article remain valid.’
The introductions to a few, however, simply stress what the piece is about, and indicate that what he wrote then still holds now. Such articles include ‘The Aim of Augustine's Proof that God Truly Is,’ ‘Love of Neighbour in Augustine,’ ‘Properties of God and the Predicaments in de Trinitate.’ Whether Teske has changed his opinion or stands by it, such explications are a boon to skittish students who may have been warned off ‘old’ and so surely out-of-date articles. Some of these may have first been published (horrors!) before they were born, but the publication of this collection signals that there is still much to learn here.
Both philosophy and theology students and scholars welcome Augustine of Hippo His Philosophy in a Historical and Contemporary Perspective by Virgilio Pacioni. Virgilio Pacioni's thoughtful collection not only brings forward recent Italian scholarship on Augustine's philosophical method and theological reflection during the years before his ordination. For example, Chapter 3, ‘Beginnings of Augustinian Speculation’ presents in some 20 pages a cogent account of Cassiciacum enhanced by the contributions of Ottavio Sciacca (who identified Augustine as a seminal philosopher of objective interiority, self-awareness, and integrality), Nello Cipriani (who has traced to Varro and back to Antiochus of Ascalon the origins of Augustine's anthropology), and Michele Malatesta (who first used the tools of modern logic in his research of Augustine's works). Even his superb Appendix, ‘Critical Interpretation of Augustinian Philosophy’ achieves in another 20 pages an invaluable, utterly teach-able summary synthesis of scholarship from the earliest Encylopaedism of the Retractationes, through to Cassiodorus, Bede, and Alcuin onward. He distinguishes medieval Augustinizing Dionysianism and Platonism from speculative, mystical, rhetorical and mystical-literary Augustinianism. It is Augustine who, for example, provides the framework for William of Auvergne's Magisterium divinale and for Henry of Ghent's Summa theologica. Even medieval Franciscans who may seem to distance themselves from Augustine's thought share the basic structure of Augustine's philosophy: ‘the conception of God as Being and place for ideas, knowledge understood as an activity of the soul which makes use of the body, the theory of illumination, spirituality, and immortality of the soul, the positive nature of matter, and the rationes seminales.’ Moreover, apart from the many times that Thomas Aquinas cites Augustine in his Sed contra (‘a sign that he embraces the cause, as can then be inferred from the Respondeo dicendum’), ‘one often has the impression that Thomas uses Aristotelian language to express his concepts of Augustine, since the language of the latter was now obsolete in the new cultural situation. What is most disconcerting is that, here and there, while Augustine is not cited, there are whole passages of Augustine quoted by Thomas, so deep the assimilation has been. Compare Summa contra Gentiles, 1, 4 with De Ordine II, 5, 15, for example.’ Pacioni's summary continues from the Renaissance, the first centuries of the modern era, and through the philosophical, philological, and logical-formal and analytical-linguistic turning points which have marked twentieth century interpretation of Augustine. In between are thematic treatments of Augustine's anthropology, epistemology; free will and the moral problem; nature and the existence of God; time and history; and political philosophy.
Chad Tyler Gerber's task in The Spirit of Augustine's Early Theology is contextualizing, and to do so he offers a straight reading of the material, as told and without attention to the text as a literary construct, in order to probe for how Augustine treats the Holy Spirit. Theologians and philosophers will find it a good albeit slow read. Advanced graduate students will also see it an attractive example of scholarly publication anchored to a series that should assure libraries' acquisition. Augustine's Cassiciacum literature demonstrates clear understanding of the Trinity, for Gerber finds their pneumatology a confluence of the soul of Plotinus and the spirit of Nicaea. Augustine adapts Plotinian terminology for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with the guidance of encouragement of intellectuals in Milan whom Gerber thinks of as Augustine's pro-Nicene sources. The pneumatology of the anti-Manichaean works written in Rome is a distillation of Augustine's redemptive pneumatology into the mediation of Christianity's preeminent virtue, the love of God, and the Spirit's eternal mode of being. These works show Augustine's confident exploration of language to articulate his thought about the functions of each person of the Trinity, to such an extent that by the time he has returned to Thagaste he is already speaking about the way in which the Spirit affects the order of creation by the Father and through the Son. Augustine's first writings from Thagaste were intended to strengthen Catholic laity against the Manichaeans; they mark a the shift in Augustine's writings from reference to creation ‘by God the Trinity’ or the functions in creation by the Father as source of creation and the Son as the form of creation, and the Spirit as the ordering force of creation. Gerber patiently teases out these initially subtle distinctions, without straining too much. Nothing, Gerber writes, ‘is more palpable’ in his thought about the Church and Plotinus in the years 386–387 than Augustine's zeal for the visio Dei, both for the God whose ‘redemptive-historical activity’ was the means to see and experience of ‘seeing’ the ‘divine vision in the life to come and assistance in the pursuit of it in the interim. Gerber notes that “not everything sharing a resemblance with Plotinus” triadology is derived solely or directly from Plotinus’ and ‘Augustine is not the first Catholic Christian to make use of Plotinus' philosophy.’ Indeed, Augustine's sources are both unclear and likely to be several. Following Nello Cipriani's analysis of lexical and doctrinal parallels between the Cassiciacum literature and the polemical writings of Ambrose and Marius Victorinus that indicate both familiarity and affinity, Gerber sees Augustine's earliest Trinitarian theology owing its essential form to the pro-Nicene theology of the Catholic Church in Milan. Gerber hastens to add that while he believes his findings support Nello Cipriani, actually ‘we have only made conclusions as to what is probable not to what is certain given the limitations of source-criticism.’ Even though ‘the young Augustine's confidence in philosophy’ is ‘somewhat naïve’, he uses the central tenets of Neoplatonism ‘to understand and express’ the central tenets of pro-Nicene theology ‘in ways that will remain largely unchanged in his subsequent writings.’ Gerber seems at times aware of how delicate his own situation is, stating parenthetically mid-very long paragraph in a summary that comes as close as he can to the deconstruction he is just-about doing that ‘we must remain sensitive to the distinction between the expression of an idea and the (original) formation of that idea in Augustine's mind, particularly given the ways the aforementioned changes might have called forth previously unemployed, but not unknown, doctrines and terminology.’ Exactly: so much of even this philosophical/theological scholarship, is about discerning answers to the historians' questions, What did he know, and when did he know it? Gerber's reading of these, Augustine's first polemical works, reveals a pneumatology still concerned with ‘the redemptive economy of the Spirit’ presented in ‘newer and sharper expression in terms of charity (caritas), the soul's love for God.’ Augustine can be seen to be following Ambrose now and through the rest of his career. But Augustine also finds expression that is his own, too. Caritas is a term which is original to Augustine, his easy use of the term suggesting that he has used it for some time. Gerber's particular strengths include his tracing of Augustine's identification of love with the Spirit from his earliest writings; his location of additional original terms depicting the Spirit as pax, as Concordia, and the supreme good, as supreme wisdom, eternity, and truth, and ‘naming the Spirit according to the Spirit's redemptive work' of redemptive love.’ The influence of Plotinus' image of Nous is only ‘fully constituted when it loves and turns toward the One and thereby becomes like its progenitor.’ Augustine clearly appropriates this Plotinian notion for his theology of the Son in De beata vita and in his third epistle to Nebridius. It is therefore possible that this ‘affectionate’ construal of the eternal Father-Son relationship further encouraged Augustine to find a place for the Spirit who is ‘Immutable Love' in their spirit of affection.’
Donato Ogliari's Gratia et Certamen: the relation between grace and free will in the discussion of Augustine with the so-called Semi-Pelagians treats the relations between early 5th century Hippo and the Hadrumentum community in Gaul. Ogliari explores both why Augustine received these letters from Gaul, and whether his correspondents paid any heed to his reply. First we have Augustine's letter to Vitalis, the beginning of the affair of Hadrumentum; and the difference between monasticism in Gaul and North Africa. Therefore, Augustine's De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio and Correptione et Gratia. But what happened next? Ogliari's large study presents Prosper, Hilary and Massilianism as centres of opposition to Augustine's views on grace. He presents monasticism in Gaul, notably in Lerin, Marseilles, and ‘its star,’ John Cassian. If we cannot do anything for our salvation, without divine grace, how can a monk strive for perfection? Cassion's discussion of grace and free will provides the basis for Ogliari's depiction of Augustine's reply to Massilianism, his De Praedestinatione sanctorum and De Dono Perseverantiae. The dispute framed, Ogliari next treats the dilemma of Freedom vs. Determinism and Fatalism in the ancient pagan world, then grace in Scripture, and then grace and free will in pre-Augustinian theology in both the west and east before turning to Pelagianism vs. Augustinianism. Ogliari highlights both elements which remain consistent and others that evolve as Augustine's teaching on grace and free will develops from his anti-Manichaean works through his anti-Pelagian ones. Ogliari asks whether Augustine can be called an innovator? What he sees for sure is his struggle for perfection, in sharp relief to Cassian's ‘humanistic’ theology vis-à-vis Augustine's theology of grace. At issue is predestination in the Christian tradition. Ogliari examines the development of Augustine's doctrine, probing his discernment of God's mystery and pastoral necessity importantly through his reading of Paul. Ogliari asks, Did Augustine develop an asymmetrical theological determinism? Did Augustine's concept of predestination entail a praedestinatio gemina? He compares the Massilians' approach to God's universal salvific will and predestination with Augustine's reproach of fatalism and Manichaeism, and asks whether Augustine's theory of predestination might actually result from his adherence to Manichaeism. In conclusion, Ogliari first compares Augustine's Gnadenmonergismus and Cassian's ‘Humanistic’ approach. For Augustine, the relationship between grace and free will are not two equal and complementary truths; therefore in light of his teaching on predestination shows prominence for the role of divine and gratuitous grace at the expense of free will. Everything, all of humankind's good will and virtue derive from God's grace, in a ‘vertically oriented relationship, [which] predetermines and moves human free will through prevenient grace.’ He then treats divine justice vs. divine mercy and exegesis vis-à-vis these theological presuppositions and the weight of tradition and pastoral authority. Augustine's defence of the gratuitousness of grace outside of any human merit, and his attributing to God human's initium fidei rather than to his (final) perserverence. The practical approach of the monks in Gaul was toward a process of integration and unification (et-et) rather than confrontation and antinomy (aut-aut), ‘without doubt, an attempt to humanize the otherwise tragic substance of Christian faith.’ His work is supported by an extensive bibliography, plus indices of Biblical references and citations, of ancient authors, of modern authors, and of names, places, and subjects. His Epilogue treats the second phase of Massilianism from the deaths of Augustine and Cassian to the Council of Orange in 529.
Provided that the overtly Christological hermeneutic of Old Testament material in this constructive theology is what is sought, Jason Byassee's study Praise Seeking Understanding: Reading the Psalms with Augustine should be useful for aspiring and current church leaders. His aim is to encourage ways of reading that promote new ways of seeing which then disseminate within Christian congregations, thereby enhancing worship and appreciation especially of Old Testament material, notably the Psalms. By highlighting such dangers as Bible-worship or too-Arian readings of the Old Testament, Byassee's recoiling from such practices encourages his readers to recoil, too, thereby learning what to avoid. As a Methodist, Byassee argues for reading all of the Old Testament, not just the Psalms, as Christological allegory because ‘allegorical exegesis makes for good literal reading of Scripture.’ Byassee uses the title ‘saint’ while also, as a Protestant, calling fellow church members ‘saints,’ arguing that biblical exegesis ought to produce saints because some figures are exemplary for education of the whole church, ‘and also that the whole church is called to be no less holy.’ As an example, he highlights the both-times situations of listeners to ‘Christ's confrontation with his hearers, both depicted narratively in the Gospels and those that take place whenever the church preaches or presides.’ Just as this teaching then evoked either rejection or enticement (and if enticement, then conversion) – then for Byassee similarly, in the church today conversion occurs when this material is read allegorically. ‘Moral or theological puzzlement gives way to allegorical possibility, and fully further light cast on the nature of God and so of his people.’ Dogmatic formulations with allegorical support must have ‘deep literal foundation in the Bible.’ People wishing to read biblically find themselves continually returning to allegory. Seminary education would be, should be radically reworked to transfigure reading scripture. If monastic settings for extensive, continual lectio divina in community is no longer practicable, not least because of ecclesial divisions generally considered more intractable than that between the Donatists and Augustine's Caecilians, Byassee urges ‘attention to the sorts of Christological and ecclesiological readings that Augustine offers in the Ennarrationes.. ‘to discern the body’ among Christians with whom we are not now in communion … if a specifically biblical vision of allegory is to become tenable again.’ If Christian life is itself allegorical, constantly producing new ‘reading’ while living out the words, then Byassee is proposing an experiment to read like Augustine, toward producing preachers who preach like Augustine. For Augustine, this meant reading the Psalms in an ecclesial context. Writing for churches that confess the Nicene Creed, Byassee's starting point is to exegete his claim that we should read the Psalter like St Augustine because his commentary on the Psalms is the most extensive extant commentary and is now available in good English translation. Byassee offers Augustine's Enarrationes as a sort of discipline for reading in which ‘the fundamental logic of Christological allegory starts to seem less foreign, more familiar.’ Following on the second naïveté of Ricoeur, Byassee urges a third naiveté. That is, not only to read texts again as the word of God, having learned all that critical scholarship can offer, but now not just to read Scripture as if it is true, but structuring the community as if it is true and ‘as if the God of Scripture rules’ and as if the people of God includes ‘us.’ To such an end, Byassee says the common life must be structured as if this is the right way to read Scripture. To critics who ask, What of the Jews? Wouldn't returning to allegory also mean return to blood-curdling statements about the Jews? For in the Enarrationes there are both thoughtlessly off-hand derisions and theologically crafted polemical allegory turned repeatedly against the Jews that supported the church's supercessionist stance in God's favour, in place of the Jews. Byassee urges leaders not to look away from the Bible's most bitterly polemical pages. Instead, what Byassee calls ‘an Augustinian answer … would be honestly to face sin, name it as such, and provide resources with which to do otherwise.’ He then demonstrates where in Augustine's Enarrationes there are ‘resources with which to respond to traditional Christian anti-Judaism, even as he himself does not make use of them.’ Thus, Byassee claims, Augustine can be read against himself, turning some of Augustine's most potent Christological insights into ‘an argument against Augustine's own anti-Judaism in a way that is ‘genuinely confessional for Christian readers’ and that ‘Augustine's prime exegetical instinct, allegory, ‘actually offers resources for dealing with the Bible's own anti-Jewish elements that can be lacking in historical criticism.’ I can imagine this book on preachers' shelves for reference when preparing homilies on difficult texts in hard times. Byassee does theological work that can be like a helping hand over a tricky stile, encouraging readers through the passages of obscurity. ‘Preaching is hard. Allegorical interpretation is even harder.’ Byassee also respectfully invites the academy to tackle questions admittedly outside his range – for example, whether the original and Christian sources are ‘inherently anti-Jewish’ as some scholars have argued.
Paul Kolbert's Augustine and the Cure of Souls shows how Augustine effectively Christianises the long-standing understanding of philosophy as medicine for the soul, and hence provides what is what he perceives as an effective cure for souls. Kolbert begins by explicating the historical precedents of philosophical schools whose intention was to heal sick souls. He then turns to Ambrose, presenting him as undoubtedly a pivotal figure for Augustine, both men thoroughly classically trained and utilising models (and doctrine) from philosophical schools in his preaching and teaching. The latter books of De Doctrina Christiana provide instructions on how the cure of ‘the debilitating effects of disordered loves hardened by habit’ is attained ‘in the context of the Christian community's reading and preaching of Scripture … What distinguishes [these] passages in De Doctrina Christiana from earlier works is that the interpretation of Scripture is theoretically integrated into the ascent to Wisdom.’ Kolbert probes the presentation of Scripture in de Doctrina in light of Augustine's understanding of the reader's essential response to it. Kolbert shows that ‘the reading of Scripture … yields knowledge of self – even though this knowledge at first takes the form of admitting one's customary habits of reference are carnal, and one's ignorance of the true meaning of biblical signs.’ The teacher is to help ‘unravel knotty problems’ and ‘to open what is inaccessible’. The signs explicated in De Doctrina provide the critical tools to probe ‘customary social practices’ for the meaning they signify.’ Augustine is ‘particularly critical of socially inscribed systems of significance that do not present their own relativity as pointing to God,’ and therefore people are misshaped by false albeit pleasurable signification. When a person realises this danger, ‘there is room for positive guidance … [so that] a person will develop a habit if mind that constantly refers every particular signum to its proper res.’ For Augustine, Scripture is the means ‘by which we can strip the objects of our experience of their artificial cultural overlay and restore them in ourselves to their natural state within God's providential ordering of the universe. The more fluent one becomes in this properly ordered sign system given by God, the more adept one becomes in recognising the relativity of human customary signs and their systemic misuse.’ Kolbert turns to De Catechizandis Rudibus, where, he finds, Augustine applying his pastoral theory to the specific situation of telling another cleric how to teach persons who present themselves, wishing to become Christian. This work provides Augustine the opportunity ‘to demonstrate the great extent that his mature psychagogic theory informs his own episcopal directives about how souls are to be cared for in the context of the catholic congregation.’ For centuries crowds would gather to listen and be enthralled by rhetoric, and so it would be essential for a bishop to recognise that one of his roles as Rhetor would be to speak. Kolbert shows both the manner and content of Augustine's preaching, thereby vivifying both Augustine and his audience. Augustine continuously draws ‘on familiar material from the psychagogic tradition to depict the soul's plight in terms of a physical malady and medical cure.’ The physician is Jesus Christ, who in his life was the physician of souls. Using an array of sermons, Kolbert shows the consistency of Augustine's voice and manner of caution, counsel, and consolation. Three distinct principles rule them – pride proves to be an illusion; humility depends on God; therefore the Christian's task is to turn from pride and assume humility. Kolbert argues that although Augustine could well have taught by means of Aristotelian syllogisms, he instead ‘incited his hearers to join him is a shared inquiry into the meaning of Christian Scripture. This inquiry ideally will lead to self-knowledge and personal transformation.’ Augustine presents his message ‘in a form that facilitates its internalisation in the souls of his hearers,’ aware that ‘Scripture's efficacy in healing the afflictions of the heart derives from the Holy Spirit's use of … the whole sacramental life of the church.’ Indeed, ‘through the regular liturgical discipline, sacramental words are taken up again and again as an on-going training of perception that shapes actions as it re-awakes and re-orders love.’ Augustine is both in continuity with the ancients, while also transformative in his application of this psychagogic cure of souls. For if Cicero found rhetoric a civilising force for good for the formation of the soul, so Augustine ‘made his own the basic tasks of classical therapy, namely of finding a non-conventionally determined scale of valuation, the need for critical tolls to do so, and of constructive guidance that adapts language to the state of the souls of hearers and strives by means of rational an non-rational arguments to lead them gradually to apprehend wisdom for themselves.’ Kolbert finds Augustine's philosophical rhetoric ‘subsumed within the larger economy of God's psychagogic wooing of creatures by means of the dark and showy instruments of the world.’ This teaching toward the cure of the soul ‘had broad social implications. The therapeutic practices he advocated incorporated people into an ecclesial community itself in need of cure.’ Kolbert concludes having shown how ‘Augustine revises classical psychagogic for much the same reason and in the same ways as he revised classical philosophical and political thought … [believing] that classicism lacked the means to realise its highest ideals … [and so] Augustine invigorated classical rhetoric by reorienting it to Christian purposes.’ Because he was repeatedly asked for copies of his sermons, Kolbert is certain that Augustine's accomplishment in them were recognised in his lifetime.
Gilbert Meilaender offers graceful constructive theology in The Way that Leads There: Augustinian Reflections on the Christian Life. Intellectually pastoral without an iota of cheesiness, this could be just the book for a receptive friend straddling a cusp. Meilaender gets right to the point, rather to several points, as he treats the moral life in chapters on Desire, Duty, Politics, Sex, and Grief before making observations in Method, about how ‘thinking with someone like Augustine is often the way to gain genuine insight, which is something very different from simple repetition.’ Even though he does not always simply accept what he says, Augustine is his companion, his ‘conversation partner,’ because his influence as a thinker has such a broad reach, and the power of the ‘worrying’ that underlies his thinking is still so stimulating. Meilaender looks here at the questions that do not go away, including in the discussion such thinkers as Paul J. Griffiths, Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum, Robert Markus, Kim Power,’ and Kim Paffenroth. He begins, for example, How to harmonise desire and duty in the moral life? Augustine's response is ‘a vision of life … whose power lies chiefly in his sense that the way that leads to God (and hence, to fulfilment, is a way that often hurts and wounds us.’ Meilaender's contribution to this gloomy outlook is his ‘worrying’ with Augustine, toward a more expansive end. Throughout his life, Augustine treats the universal yearning for ‘the happy life,’ which he believes is found in resting in God. But that Augustine does not serve God in order to be happy, but to delight in his presence points for Meilaender in human desire to the joyful fulfilment found in forgetting oneself when simply being with the object of one's desire. The universal yearning for the happy life is unfulfilled for those who seek it anywhere other than in God. Thus, to worship God requires some self-forgetfulness. Sadly, failing as we do to rest in ‘God whom we are made to praise,’ we are left in misery – but God calls us out of ourselves, even if we deny any need for God, and instead seek self-centred self-sufficiency in ‘unreal liberty’ – risking ‘the loss of everything by setting our love more upon our own private good than upon you, the good of all things. In answering God's call, we become more nearly ourselves. Meilaender warns against thinking that the sacrifice of self is the goal; the sacrifice is the way to the goal, joy in God's presence. To think with Augustine in these ways is to affirm his on-going presence in the ‘ecumenism of time.’
- 1Augustine of Hippo: A Life, Oxford University Press, 2009. The manuscript was discovered among Chadwick's papers, a draft of a 1981 Life for the Past Masters series. That 1981 study was ultimately replaced by a shorter, quite different text.,
- 2Augustine, Oxford University Press, 1986 has been re-issued and is now available as Augustine: A Very Short Introduction as part of the Oxford VSI series (2001).
- 3Thus, for example, the four pages on Mani, his cult snapshot-ed as ‘a half-secret theosophical society’ ( , p. 13).
- 4A Reader's Companion to Augustine's ‘Confessions’ edited by Kim Paffenroth and Robert P. Kennedy , Louisville: Westminster John Knox: 2003.
- 5Book One: The Presumptuousness of Autobiography and the Paradoxes of Beginning,’ in Paffenroth and Kennedy , pp. 7–23, this at p. 21., ‘
- 6Book Two: Augustine's Book of Shadows,’ in Paffenroth and Kennedy , pp. 25–34., ‘
- 7Book Twelve: Exegesis and Confessio,’ in Paffenroth and Kennedy , pp. 185–206., , ‘
- 8Martin, in Paffenroth and Kennedy, pp. 205–206.
- 9Book Three: No Changing Nor Shadow’; James Wetzel ,‘Book Four: The Trappings of Woe and Confession of Grief’; Frederick J. Crosson ,‘Book Five: The Disclosure of Hidden Providence’; Eric Plumer ,‘Book Six: Major Characters and Memorable Incidents’; Philip Carey ,‘Book Seven: Inner Vision as the Goal’; Leo C. Ferrari ,‘Book Eight: Science and the Fictional Conversion Scene’; Kim Paffenroth ,‘Book Nine: The Emotional Heart’; Pamela Bright ,‘Book Ten: The Self Seeking the God Who Creates and Heals’; Robert P. Kennedy ,‘Book Eleven: The Confessions as Eschatological Narrative’; also Robert McMahon ,‘Book 13 The Creation of the Church as Paradigm for the Confessions.’ all in Paffenroth and Kennedy , op.cit., ‘
- 10Feminist Interpretations of Augustine, Re-Reading the Canon, ed. Nancy Tuana , University Park: The Pennsylvanian State University Press, 2007. Contributors include Rosemary Radford Ruether, ‘Augustine, Sexuality, Gender, and Women’; Anne-Marie Bowery, ‘Monica: The Feminist Face of Christ’; Felecia McDuffie, ‘Augustine's Rhetoric of the Feminine in the Confessions: Woman as Mother, Woman as Other’; Virginia Burrus and Catherine Keller, ‘Confessing Monica’; Rebecca Moore, ‘O Mother, Where Art Thou? In Search of Saint Monnica’; Margaret R. Miles, ‘Not Nameless but Unnamed: The Woman Torn from Augustine's Side’; Joanne McWilliam, ‘Augustine's Letters to Women’; E. Ann Matter, ‘De cura feminarum: Augustine the Bishop, North African Women, and the Development of a Theology of Female Nature’; Judith Chelius Stark, ‘Augustine on Women: In God's House, but Less So’; Julie B. Miller, ‘To Remember Self, to Remember God: Augustine on Sexuality, Relationality, and the Trinity’; Penelope Deutscher, ‘The Evanescence of Masculinity: Deferral in Saint Augustine's Confessions and Some Thoughts on Its Bearing on the Sex/Gender Debate’; and Ann Conrad Lammers, ‘Poem: To Aurelius Augustine from the Mother of His Son.’, ed.
- 11253.in Stock, p.
- 12255.in Stock, p.
- 13255.in Stock, p.
- 14257–258.in Stock, pp.
- 15258–259.in Stock, pp.
- 16259–260.in Stock, pp.
- 17Augustine's Way into the Will: The Theological and Philosophical Significance of de Libero Arbitrio, Oxford Early Christian Studies, eds. Gillian Clark and Andrew Louth, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.,
- 18Or between an Inquisitor and a Responsor, or a disciple and master, or Augustine and Reason, or Augustine and Orosius. 33., Table 1, Signs used for the interlocutors, p.
- 1917, referring to Augustine's account of its composition (Retractationes 1.9.1)., p.
- 209., p.
- 21‘This simply serves to indicate, first, that we should be prepared for something that may not contribute directly to an argument in a modern journal, and that thus it may be unfair to lib.arb. to approach it looking for it to do so. The problem has a history and its formulations a context’ (11.), p.
- 2233., p.
- 24153–165., pp.
- 25166–170., pp.
- 26152., p.
- 27152., p.
- 28Augustine's Text of John: Patristic Citations and Latin Gospel Manuscripts, Oxford Early Christian Studies, eds. Gillian Clark and Andrew Louth, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.,
- 2942–43., pp.
- 31Augustine's Inner Dialogue: The Philosophical Soliloquy in Late Antiquity, Cambridge University Press, 2010.,
- 32201., p.
- 33Augustine rejects Arianism in 386. ‘Augustine could recognize the Son as equal to the Father before recognizing that the man Jesus was God. The Arian heresy would be a natural temptation for a Christian Neoplatonist seeking to reconcile the hierarchical first principles of Plotinus with the Trinity’ (67 and n. 189)., p.
- 34106., p.
- 3550., p.
- 3665., p.
- 37236., p.
- 382., p.
- 39229., p.
- 404., p.
- 415, on De Trinitate 15.11.20., p.
- 42232., p.
- 43Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defence of Jews and Judaism, New York: Doubleday, 2008.,
- 4416., p.
- 45112., p.
- 46240., p.
- 47240., p.
- 48240–241., pp.
- 49241–242., pp.
- 50What is more, ‘for Augustine, the semiotics of prophesy encompasses deeds as well as words, for material symbolic acts (corporalia sacramenta) are nothing other than visible speech (verba visibilia). This likening of physical actions to language in turn provides Augustine with a way to explain why and how the divine truth signified through the sacraments themselves, those ritual acts communicating this truth, clearly changed’ (243)., p.
- 51252., p.
- 52260., p.
- 53262, on Against Faustus 12.12–13. In the end, Paul's letters provide pivotal texts for ‘the larger theological context for Augustine's extraordinary argument, against Faustus, in defence of Judaism, and for his even more extraordinary argument in defence of the Jewish praxis of Judaism … No other nation was like Israel. Only Israel had received God's revelation. Only Israel had worshipped God alone, utterly without images. Only Israel had safeguarded, both in word and in deed, those divine mysteries that had pointed ahead to the incarnation and resurrection of God's son and that pointed ahead still to his redemption of humanity. By crucifying Christ, Israel had helped bring salvation to the nations. By denying Christ and thus by continuing in their ancestral understanding of the Law, Israel performed the fulfilment of their own prophesies of exile, and thereby continued to assist in bringing the gospel to the nations, Wandering, everywhere, always bearing their books, ‘tilling the ground’ of their earthly understanding of the Law: Israel, all unknowing, was the servant of the church.’ (Fredriksen, pp. 252ff.), p.
- 54351–352., pp.
- 55Augustine's Early Theology of the Church: Emergence and Implications, 386–391, Patristic Studies Vol. 9, ed. Gerald Bray, New York: Peter Lang, 2008.,
- 5628., p.
- 5719., p.
- 58Unlike a philosopher who might assent to Christianity only intellectually, Augustine's commitment is to a life of service to God, which Alexander believes ‘confirm[s] that Augustine's pursuit of a life of ‘true philosophy’ was seen as a pursuit of the spiritual life before and toward God’ (14)., p.
- 59331., p.
- 6016., p.
- 6117., p.
- 62‘The clearly significant connection between the ‘church’ and ‘teaching’ in Augustine's early Christian years underwent considerable development. It is more than probable that the intensely ecclesial context of Augustine's catholic initiatory instruction at Milan stimulated this connection. Yet, it also flowed naturally from Augustine's educational background, interests, and affinity for teaching’ (327)., p.
- 63368., p.
- 64327., p.
- 65Boniface Ramsey , ed., The Manichean Debate, with introductions and notes by Roland Teske, The Works of Saint Augustine A Translation for the 21st Century Part 1 – Books: Volume 19, Hyde Park: New City Press, 2006.
- 66The spelling ‘Manichean’ and ‘Manichee’ are used in this series.
- 67Answer to Faustus, a manichean,’ in Boniface Ramsey , ed., The Manichean Debate, with introductions and notes by Roland Teske, The Works of Saint Augustine A Translation for the 21st Century Part 1 – Books: Volume 20, Hyde Park: New City Press, c. 2007., ‘
- 68The admirable custom in this series is to name the scholars who prepare indices. Here, the Index of Scripture was prepared by Michael Dolan, the General Index by Kathleen Stratton. Both treat each text separately.
- 69For example, Phillip Schaff , ed., St. Augustine: The writings against the Manichans [sic.], and against the Donatists, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers v. 4., Originally published: Christian Literature Co., 1886–1890. 1887 edition; reprinted Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994.
- 70Quodvultdeus of Carthage: The Creedal Homilies: Conversion in Fifth Century North Africa, translation and commentary by Thomas Macy Flynn, Ancient Christian Writers No. 60, Dennis D. McManus , Managing Editor, New York: The Newman Press, 2004.
- 713., p.
- 722., p.
- 732., p.
- 7413., p.
- 75Sermon 62.12 (PL 38.423).,
- 7616, on De symb. 2.1.5 (CCL 60.334)., p.
- 7718–19., pp.
- 78OSB, The Theological Epistemology of Augustine's de Trinitate, Oxford Theological Monographs, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.,
- 795. So, Gioia argues that one can only have a coherent approach to Augustine's book De Trinitate. Yes it presents structure and sequential progression of argument. But a wider view is still required ‘since the question of the identity of God the Trinity is inseparable from theological reflection on the way we know him, it is necessary to explore the connections between the doctrine of the Trinity and other theological areas such as Christology, soteriology, doctrine of the Holy Spirit, doctrine of revelation, and doctrine of the image of God’., p.
- 803., p.
- 813., p.
- 82298., p.
- 83298., p.
- 84298–299., pp.
- 8584., p.
- 8611., p.
- 87Williams locates these principles in book 8 which shape Augustine's discussion in the latter part of the treatise, that is, ‘to love is to desire, and desire is always of what I do not possess’, and ‘I can be said to ‘know’ what I desire to the extent that I know myself as moving in a certain direction, drawn by certain goals.’ Desire enables Augustine to look into our mental activity to the theme of the image of God. The epistemological issue is either charity or covetousness because the way we love determines how we know (18)., p.
- 88And not, as claimed by such scholars as Edmund Hill and the late Robert Crouse, ‘the place where Augustine sets out the systematic account of the doctrine of the immanent Trinity which governs his interpretation of Scripture, his Christology, pneumatology, soteriology, and doctrine of revelation and provides the formal criteria for the elaboration of analogies of Trinitarian mystery’ (147)., p.
- 89228., p.
- 90St Augustine of Hippo: The Christian Transformation of Political Philosophy, Continuum Studies in Philosophy, London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005.,
- 914., p.
- 9312., p.
- 9413., p.
- 9515., p.
- 96Reason can be used to clarify truth, revealing its wholeness insofar as that wholeness is accessible to human minds– as long as it also understood that the first principle of apprehension and thus the source of the capacity to know anything, derive from the divinely ordered creation, known through Holy Scripture and experienced by Divine Grace. Dyson pauses to assure the secular reader that Augustine's philosophy is not eccentric – it is just that Augustine insists that philosophy depends on ‘certain things that it cannot itself establish … that all inferences must rest upon principles that are a priori,’ and to understand Augustine it is important to establish what for Augustine these are (25)., p.
- 9727–28., pp.
- 98185., p.
- 99Augustine and Roman Virtue, Continuum Studies in Philosophy, London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2008.,
- 100Pierre Hadot showed that ‘ancient philosophy is less a set of theoretical disputations than it is a set of practices’, and so it would make sense that the history of philosophy shows ‘the Christian postulate simply interrupt[ing] and coloniz[ing] the rational discourse of philosophy, such that philosophia becomes simply a synonym for monasticism. This is clearly a sacralisation thesis.’ While both ancient and medieval philosophers would agree that human life ‘as is normally lived is fundamentally unsatisfactory,’ medieval thinkers would say it will be better after death, while the ancients would presume the enterprise of the philosophical life could improve life (23–29).Harding also challenges Pierre Hadot's view that the notion of ‘a philosophical path to complete human happiness was subjected to philosophical scrutiny and refuted at the dawn of the Middle Ages,’, and instead claims that the philosophical way of life dies out due to such ‘sociological’ reasons as the rise of Christianity, the dearth of Greek texts, and association of philosophical life with monastic life ( , 157–158)., pp.
- 101Theology and Social History: Beyond Secular Reason presents a successful account of modernity and a less-successful view of appropriation of narrative within counter-narrative, Milbank, Harding argues, claims that Augustine resituates Roman history within Christian narrative, without regard for the failure of pagan Rome on its own terms. Harding counters that Augustine's ‘Christian narrative explains more because it has more to explain, the questions it attempts to answer may not be questions from the Roman perspective.’It could seem, following Milbank, that Augustine's use of Rome is ‘simply theological colonization’ ( , pp. 16–22). Harding sees Milbank claiming ‘faith’ as a body of propositions that cannot be proved by pure reason, while Harding believes that Augustine would say that faith is neither the basis for philosophy nor the alternative to it, ‘but a spur.’ For Harding, Milbank's reading of Augustine would permit denigrating Augustine for remaining bound to Roman reason while purportedly attempting to leave it behind.Harding's Augustine, on the other hand, can be seen remaining ‘faithful to orientation of ancient thought as a search for rerum humanarum diviniarumque sientiam even as he critiques certain elements of it’(Harding, p. 150–155). Harding's challenge to Milbank, and ‘radical orthodoxy’ would say that Augustine's turn to Christianity led him to discern the flaws in classical philosophy. Harding, in the other hand, believes that the flaws in ancient philosophy ‘allow one to turn to Christianity.’‘radical orthodoxy’ would show that secularity is a social construct, its own ‘alternative theology’, conditioned by rejection of orthodox theology, one that sees secularity as primary and any religious premise or practice as secondary. In radical orthodoxy, ‘theology retakes her rightful place as queen of the sciences and teacher of virtue.’. Harding observes that while Milbank's
- 102x–xi. Against the sacralisation thesis, Harding shows that this third, only true virtue, only appears in argument when Augustine has shown the failure of the ancient virtues; only then is Christianity brought forward. Against commentators on the City of God who, Harding says, condense treatment of virtue to discussion of 19.25 instead of tracing its presence in Augustine's early arguments, Harding sees much evidence for Augustine presenting Christian transformation of Roman virtue. For Augustine, Roman virtue is not epistemological because unlike Roman philosophical virtue, it is not connected with knowledge or wisdom.Christianity for Augustine offers solutions that a rational person can accept with good reasons as ‘the best chance or … more likely to bring one from misery to happiness’ ( , 150)., pp.
- 10371., p.
- 104162., p.
- 105162., p.
- 106164., p.
- 107To Know God and the Soul: Essays on the Thought of St. Augustine, Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2008.,
- 108xii., p.
- 109xiii., p.
- 110The sequence and dates of the three in ‘God and Speaking about God’ are from 1981, 1985, 1986. The three in ‘Creation & Beginnings’ are from 1988, 1994, 1991. The four in ‘The Soul & Time’ are from 1983, 1983, 1985, 2000.
- 111Augustine as Philosopher: The Birth of Christian Metaphysics,’ p. 3., on ‘
- 112Spirituals and Spiritual Interpretation in Augustine,’ p. 49., on ‘
- 113The World-Soul and Time in Augustine,’ p. 216., on ‘
- 114The Motive for Creation according to Augustine,’ p. 155., on ‘
- 115Augustine of Hippo His Philosophy in a Historical and Contemporary Perspective, Gracewing, Ltd 2010.The English translation by Brain Williams (d. 2004) and Philip Rand sometimes feels forced, but not so much as to confuse Pacioni's clear expression of philosophical concepts. First published in Italian as Agostino d'Ippona, Prospettiva storica e attualita di una filosofia, ALEF Vol. 1, Milan: Mursia Editore, 2004.,
- 116262., p.
- 117263., p.
- 118The Spirit of Augustine's Early Theology: Contextualizing Augustine's Pneumatology, Ashgate Series in Philosophy & Theology in Late Antiquity, Farnham UK & Burlington VT: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2012.,
- 119198. From the year 389 Augustine writes that ‘the Spirit perpetually orders all that the Father has created (i.e. formed) by means of the Son’ and depicts the natural order ‘as manifesting God the Father (Measure, Source) and the Holy Spirit (Order) together with God the Son (Number, Form) – as possessing vestigia Trinitatis and not merely vestigia Numeri.’ Gerber observes that during this time Augustine comes to view creation in the sense of the ‘created product’, that is the world itself as ‘inseparably triadic’ because of the ‘unified threefold process’ of creation. Indeed, ‘Augustine also comes to see the very existence of each thing and its formal and ontological perpetuity as corollaries of the respective operations of the Father and the Holy Spirit.’, p.
- 12012., p.
- 121Le fonti christiane della dottrina trinitaria nei primi Dialoghi de S. Agosotino,’ Augustinianum 34 (1994), pp. 253–312., ‘
- 12254–55., pp.
- 123125., p.
- 124125., p.
- 125137–150., pp.
- 126Gratia et Certamen: The Relationship between Grace and Evil in the discussion of Augustine with the So-called Semipelagians, Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2003.,
- 127403., p.
- 128403., p.
- 129302., p.
- 130428., p.
- 131Praise Seeking Understanding: reading the Psalms with Augustine, Radical Traditions Theology in a Postcritical Key, Stanley M. Hauerwas and Peter Ochs , eds., Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007.,
- 132210., p.
- 13314., p.
- 134266., p.
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- 13677., p.
- 137272., p.
- 138151–152., pp.
- 139188., p.
- 140Augustine and the Cure of Souls: Revising a Classical Ideal, Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity Series Volume 17, ed. Gregory E. Sterling , Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010.,
- 141142., p.
- 142146–148., pp.
- 143154., p.
- 144171., p.
- 145184–193., pp.
- 146201–202., pp.
- 147205–207., pp.
- 148The Way that Leads There: Augustinian Reflections on the Christian Life, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006.,
- 149167., p.
- 150‘In particular, it is often at those places where one is tempted to dismiss him as misguided , or even comical, that listening to Augustine worry over a subject can set us free from the limits that confine us.’ (x)., p.
- 151Lying: An Augustinian Theology of Duplicity, Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2004.,
- 152Truth and Truthfulness, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002.,
- 153Augustine and Dante on the Ascent of Love,’ in The Augustinian Tradition, ed. Gareth B Matthews , Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999., ‘
- 154Saeculum: History and Society in the Theology of St. Augustine, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970.,
- 155Veiled Desire: Augustine on Women, New York: Continuum, 1996.,
- 156Book Nine: The Emotional Heart of the Confessions,’ in A Reader's Companion to Augustine's ‘Confessions,’ ed. Kim Paffenroth and Robert P Kennedy , Louisville: Westminster John Knox: 2003, pp. 137–154., ‘
- 157x., p.
- 158Confessions, 3.8.