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Maynooth Philosophical Papers

Volume 10, 2020

Philipp W. Rosemann
Pages 97-115

The Creative Word
Reflections on the Augustinian Episteme

Book XI of his Confessions contains Augustine’s celebrated ‘treatise’ on time. In reality, however, the ‘treatise’ is no such thing, but rather an integral part of a discussion of God’s creation through the Word: if God creates by speaking, as Scripture affirms, then how can God speak, given the fact that he must be thought not to be subject to time? What is a timeless word? While these are the questions that Augustine explicitly addresses in Book XI, there is something very important that he does not justify at all: namely, the possibility of speaking the world into existence. My paper investigates the episteme within which such a claim can make sense. How must one conceive of the relationship between the world and words to be able to assume that the latter can ‘make’ the former?

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