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1. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 54 > Issue: 2
Matthew Robinson Orcid-ID

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This article focuses on the unresolved scholarly question of how Confessiones, book 10 should be interpreted, proposing a new explanation as to how and why the second half of book 10 is critically important to this text. Emphasizing important relations between the introductory chapters and the second half of book 10, the article revisits Augustine’s treatment of ambitio saeculi, interpreted as a state of will, with which author Augustine continues to struggle, even during his act of confessing publicly (i.e., in composing the book 10 text for publication). As a corruption of the motive behind his act of public confession, ambitio saeculi threatens to undermine the moral integrity of this same act. After Augustine recognizes that he cannot solve this moral flaw, he despairs and considers abandoning his human audience, and so, the very publication of his text. However, he is made newly capable of remaining, as confessant, before his readership, through a new, deeper conversion. This conversion to a new humility is given in and through the confessant’s participation in the eucharistic sacrament, which provides a hopeful resolution to his ambitio saeculi.
2. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 54 > Issue: 2
Mattias Gassman Orcid-ID

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A recent study has argued from theological and classicizing parallels that the first, anti-pagan book of Augustine’s De consensu euangelistarum belongs between 406 and 412 CE. This article defends the traditional dating ca. 400–405 CE, implied by Retractationes. Uncertainty over the dating of parallels in De trinitate 1–4 cautions against reliance on theological peculiarities (a variant of John 5:19 and the phrase unitas personae, both otherwise paralleled in the 410s CE or later), while a close review of the patterns of classical citation proves resemblance to De ciuitate dei to be superficial. Not only does Augustine demonstrably cite the same classical texts on widely separated occasions, De consensu euangelistarum 1 evinces little of Augustine’s later knowledge of Porphyry and Varro. The crowning proof comes, however, in a brief rebuttal to pagan complaints over contemporary misfortunes. Although he focuses on Rome’s religious history, Augustine omits any hint of Alaric’s sack (410 CE), the religious-political instability of 408–409 CE, or Radagaisus’ invasion of Italy (405–406 CE), all of key importance for later works. The book’s method, scope, and tenor place it neatly within the span 400–405 CE, as our first testimony to the interreligious milieu for which De ciuitate dei would later be aimed.
3. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 54 > Issue: 2
Hans Feichtinger

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Scholars do not agree on where Augustine exactly stands regarding capital punishment and whether his position is still relevant for debates today. This paper establishes Augustine’s starting point for his considerations on the death penalty, identifies the scriptural input into his views, both critical and supportive of capital punishment, and, finally, examines how he approaches concrete cases of people facing the death penalty. On this basis, it makes a somewhat new proposal for understanding how Augustine sees capital punishment as legitimate in principle but problematic in concrete cases, in particular, cases involving the church.
4. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 54 > Issue: 2
Brendan Augustine Baran, O.P.

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Several times, when faced with a difficult passage of scripture in Sermones ad populum, Augustine implores his audience, “knock and it shall be opened” (Matt. 7:7c; par. Luke 11:9c). Augustine uses this phrase to stress humility and the human need for God’s activity when interpreting scripture. Studying the archeological record of domestic architecture of locked doors in Roman North Africa elucidates Augustine’s message. Knowledge of the material culture shows that Augustine calls upon Christians to “knock” upon scripture as if it were a door, locked and barred in such a way that it could only be opened from inside. Thus, a reader of scripture is like a petitioner calling from outside a locked door, needing God to open its meaning. Augustine’s use of “knocking” contrasts with the metaphor of “keys” to scripture, which was favored by Tyconius and other early Christian writers. In De doctrina Christiana, Augustine expresses concern that “keys” could lead a person into overconfidence, expecting to unlock obscure passages of the Bible by his or her own power. Augustine’s frequent use of Matt. 7:7c is a call for exegetes to approach scripture with humility. All members of the totus Christus, great and small, must humbly knock. The image of “knocking” provides a versatile theological message: human effort is important, but the meaning of the Bible is ultimately unlocked by God’s activity.

book reviews

5. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 54 > Issue: 2
Marie Kalb

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6. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 54 > Issue: 2
Aaron M. Canty

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7. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 54 > Issue: 2
Mark Edwards

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8. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 54 > Issue: 2
Jen Ebbeler

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9. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 54 > Issue: 2
Francis X. Gumerlock

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10. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 54 > Issue: 2
Adam Ployd

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11. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 54 > Issue: 2
Andrew Chronister

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12. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 54 > Issue: 2
Nathan Scott

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books received

13. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 54 > Issue: 2

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