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articles
1. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 2
Margaret R. Miles St. Augustine’s Last Desire
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In his last years, St. Augustine became impatient with the doctrinal questions and requests for advice on practical matters of ecclesiastical discipline frequently referred to in correspondence of his last decade. Scholars have often attributed his uncharacteristic reluctance to address these matters to the diminishing competence and energy of old age. This article demonstrates that his evident unwillingness to respond at length to such queries relates rather to his desire to sequester increased time for meditation. Throughout his Christian life, he described and refined his practice of meditation; it gathered urgent importance as he neared death. Augustine’s lifelong search for “God and the soul,” articulated in his first writings, evolved through his meditation, changing from an intellectual effort to achieve a vision of God by the use of reason to a search for the truth of his own life. In meditation he sought to recall in detail God’s loving leading within the chaos and pain of his youthful desires and throughout his life. I explore his understanding of “God is love” from his earliest (extant) treatise, De beata uita (386 CE), his Easter sermons on First John (415 CE), to his Enchiridion (421 CE) as the core of his developing understanding of God’s activity in himself.
2. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 2
Joshua M. Evans Augustine and the Problem of Bodily Desire
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In what sense did Augustine attribute desires to the human body itself? Scholars disagree substantially about how to answer this question, yet it has rarely been treated as anything approaching a scholarly quaestio disputata. Some hold that bodily desire is in principle impossible according to Augustine’s anthropology. Others hold that bodily desire is of marginal significance in Augustine’s system. Still others hold that bodily desire is a central problem in human life according to Augustine. This essay is an intervention intended to prompt further exchange about the interpretation of Augustine’s thought on the issue of bodily desire. To achieve that goal, the essay closely examines two texts from Augustine’s writings against Julian of Eclanum in the early 420s. In book I of De nuptiis et concupiscentia, Augustine argues that the body does have its own desires and they are an extensive problem in human life. Furthermore, in Contra Iulianum we find that Augustine himself responds to three crucial objections that might be raised against my interpretation. In short, late in his life Augustine treated bodily desire as a grave and pervasive problem. The essay does not address his views in his earlier works. As an intervention, the essay inevitably prompts important questions it cannot fully address, especially around Augustine’s philosophy of mind, the development of Augustine’s thought, and the implications of Augustine’s claims about the body for other elements of his theological project. Future investigations will hopefully take up these topics in the scholarly exchange this intervention intends to foster.
3. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 2
Zac Settle Labor in a Life of Liturgy: De Opere Monachorum and the Potential of Monastic Labor
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This essay theorizes the interplay between Augustine’s vision of prayer and his theological treatment of labor. In so doing, it articulates some of the broader economic implications of Augustine’s theological system. More particularly, this essay theorizes the conceptual slippage between a prayerful life of Christian existence aimed at the beatific vision and labor properly related to, directed, undertaken, and contextualized. I argue that under the right conditions—conditions similar to those Augustine recognizes in a monastic context, and dissimilar to those fostered in contemporary capitalism—labor can become a modality of prayer. When labor is undertaken in this manner—which is made possible by God’s efficacious grace and the transformative power of the virtues—it is possible for the boundaries between labor and prayer to blur, such that the whole of one’s labor is grafted into one’s larger life of prayer before God. That mode of labor and prayer depends on forms of time, relationality, and selfhood that contrast sharply with typical features of labor undertaken in contemporary capitalism, all of which will be briefly canvased in conclusion.
book review
4. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 2
Brian A. Butcher Orthodox Readings of Augustine. Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Thought.
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5. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 2
Adam Ployd Augustine of Hippo: His Life and Impact
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6. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 2
Nathan Porter God Has Chosen: the Doctrine of Election through Christian History
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7. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 2
Travis E. Ables Seeing by the Light: Illumination in Augustine’s and Barth’s Readings of John
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8. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 2
Alexander H. Pierce Ambrose, Augustine, and the Pursuit of Greatness
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9. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 2
Adam Ployd Crimen Obicere: Forensic Rhetoric and Augustine’s Anti-Donatist Correspondence
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10. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 2
Micah Harris Cambridge Companion to Augustine’s Confessions
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11. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 2
Coleman M. Ford Augustine’s Early Thought on the Redemptive Function of Divine Judgement
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12. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 2
Catherine Hudak Klancer Divine Humility: God’s Morally Perfect Being
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books received
13. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 2
Books Received
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articles
14. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 1
Mattias Gassman The Ancient Readers of Augustine’s City of God
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Recent scholarship has held that De ciuitate Dei was aimed primarily at Christians. Through a comprehensive study of Augustine’s correspondence with known readers of De ciuitate Dei, this article argues that he in fact intended it for practical outreach. Beginning with the exchange with Volusianus and Marcellinus, it argues that the “circle of Volusianus” was not comprised of self-confident pagans but of a dynamic group of locals and émigrés, pagan and Christian, who had briefly coalesced around Volusianus and Marcellinus. The Carthaginian social situation did not greatly change, therefore, after Marcellinus’s execution and Volusianus’s departure. Neither did Augustine’s aims, of which the same picture emerges from Augustine’s later correspondence with Macedonius, Evodius, Peter and Abraham, Firmus, and Darius, and from Orosius. Augustine intended, from the first inception of De ciuitate Dei to the eve of his death, to use it to equip Christians with arguments and, through those Christians’ efforts in turn, to convince once-reluctant pagans to embrace the truth of its claims.
15. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 1
Alexander H. Pierce Orcid-ID From emergency practice to Christian polemics? Augustine’s invocation of infant baptism in the Pelagian Controversy
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In this article, I build upon Jean-Albert Vinel’s account of Augustine’s “liturgical argument” against the Pelagians by exploring how and why Augustine uses both the givenness of the practice of infant baptism and its ritual components as evidence for his theological conclusions in opposition to those of the Pelagians. First, I explore infant baptism in the Roman North African Church before and during Augustine’s ministry. Second, I interpret Augustine’s rhetorical adaptation of the custom in his attempt to delineate the defining characteristics of Catholic Christianity in the early fifth century. I show how Augustine mobilizes his belief in the efficacy of the Church’s practice of infant baptism to make explicit a boundary marker of “Catholic” Christianity, which was long implicit in the practice itself. Perceiving the consequences of Pelagianism, Augustine organizes his anti-Pelagian soteriology around the central node of infant baptism, the most theologically and rhetorically strategic means by which he could refute the Pelagian heresy and underwrite what he understood to be the traditional vision of sin and salvation evident in the baptismal rite.
16. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 1
Douglas Finn Unwrapping the Spectacle: Social Critique, Sectarian Polemics, and Communal Transfiguration in Augustine’s Enarratio in Psalmum 147
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In this article, I explore how Augustine uses sermonic rhetoric to bring about the transfiguration of Babylon, the city of humankind, into Jerusalem, the city of God. Focusing on Enarratio in Psalmum 147, I show how Augustine situates his audience between two spectacles, the Roman theater and games and the eschatological vision of God. Augustine seeks to turn his hearers’ eyes and hearts from the one spectacle to the other, from the love of this world to love of the next. In the process, Augustine wages battle on two fronts: he criticizes pagan Roman culture, on the one hand, and Donatist Christian separatism and perfectionism, on the other. Through his preaching, Augustine stages yet another spectacle, the history of God’s mercy and love, whereby God affirmed the world’s goodness by using it as the means of healing and transfiguration. Indeed, Augustine does not simply depict the spectacle of salvation; he seeks to make his hearers into that spectacle by exhorting them to practice mercy, thereby inscribing them into the history of God’s love and helping gradually transfigure them into the heavenly Jerusalem.
17. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 1
Emeline McClellan Metaphoric Speculation: Rereading Book 15 of Augustine’s De Trinitate
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This article argues that De trinitate advocates a process of “reading” God through metaphor. For Augustine, as for Plotinus, human beings understand God (to the degree that this is possible) not by analyzing him rationally but by seeing him through the metaphor of the human mind. But unlike Plotinus, Augustine claims that the imago dei, with its triadic structure of memory, understanding, and will, serves as metaphor only to the extent that it experiences Christ’s redemptive illumination. The act of metaphor is a kind of interior “reading” during which the mind reads the imago dei as a mental text, interprets this text through Christ’s aid, and is simultaneously transformed into a better image.
book review
18. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 1
Albert C. Geljon Creation and Literary Re-Creation. Ambrose’s Use of Philo in the Hexaemeral Letters
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19. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 1
Sean Hannan On Creation, Science, Disenchantment, and the Contours of Being and Knowing
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20. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 52 > Issue: 1
Stephen Potthoff The Church in the Latin Fathers: Unity in Charity
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