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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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