Volume 51, Issue 2, 2020
Han-luen Kantzer Komline
Always Something New out of Africa
Augustine’s Unapologetic Argument from Antiquity
This paper explores changing attitudes toward novelty in early Christianity by focusing on a case study: Augustine of Hippo. It demonstrates that Augustine develops an unapologetically Christian version of the argument from antiquity, unapologetically Christian in that he redefines the very meaning of antiquity in terms of proximity to Christ and in that he relocates the argument from antiquity from the realm of apologetics, where it had become a stock weapon in the arsenal of his predecessors, to the realm of intramural Christian debate. In the process, Augustine relativized temporal measures of “novelty” and “antiquity” and recalibrated the meaning of these terms theologically, with reference to Christ.