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1. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Alex Fogleman Becoming the Song of Christ: Musical Theology and Transforming Grace in Augustine’s Enarratio in Pslamum 32
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While the connections between exegesis, music, and moral formation are well known, what Augustine’s use of particular metaphors reveals about his theology that more literal renderings do not is less clear. This article explores how Augustine’s use of musical metaphors in Enarratio in Pslamum 32(2) illuminate his understanding of the relationship between grace and human virtue. After first offering a doctrinal description of the rightly ordered will and its Christological foundation, Augustine proceeds to narrate the Christian life as one of various stages of learning to sing the “new song” of Christ. He interprets references to the lyre and psaltery as figures of earthly and heavenly life, and then exegetes the psalm’s language of jubilation as laudatory praise of the ineffable God. The chief contribution of the musical metaphors here are twofold. First, they enable Augustine to display the mysterious process of the will transformed over time. Second, the musical figures help Augustine account for how a human will, encompassed in time, can align with the will of an eternal God whose will is ultimately inexpressible. Augustine’s musical exegesis is able to gesture towards the profound mystery of human life in time and its relation to an eternally un-timed God.
2. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Sean P. Robertson From Glory to Glory: A Christology of Ascent in Augustine’s De Trinitate
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This article argues that, in De Trinitate, Augustine’s ascent to God via a search for the Trinity is successful precisely because of the emphasis he places on the role of Christ in such an ascent. Unlike scholarship which reads this ascent as an exercise in Neoplatonism—whether as a success or as an intentional failure—this article asserts that Augustine successfully discovers an imago trinitatis in human beings by identifying the essential mediation of the temporal and eternal in the person of the Incarnate Word. Of the work’s fifteen books, Books 4 and 13 focus extensively on the soteriological and epistemological role of Christ, who, in his humility, conquered the pride of the devil and reopened humanity’s way to eternity. The Christology in these books plays an important role in Augustine’s argument by allowing his ascent to move from self-knowledge to contemplation of God. Indeed, it is his understanding of the Christological perfection of the imago dei which allows Augustine to discover a genuine imago trinitatis in human beings. For Augustine, the imago is observable in humanity to the extent that an individual is conformed to Christ, the perfect image of the invisible God. Thus, it is only through Christ that a human being can successfully contemplate the Trinity in this imago.
3. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
John Y. B. Hood Did Augustine Abandon His Doctrine of Jewish Witness in Aduersus Iudaeos?
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Augustine’s doctrine of Jewish witness maintains that, although Christianity has superseded Judaism as the one true religion, it is God’s will that the Jews continue to exist because they preserve and authenticate the Old Testament, divinely-inspired texts which foretold the coming of Jesus. Thus, Christian rulers are obligated to protect the religious liberties of the Jewish people, and the church should focus its missionary efforts on pagans rather than Jews. Current scholarly consensus holds that Augustine adhered consistently to this doctrine from its first iteration in Contra Faustum in 398 until his death in 430. However, this essay argues that, when Augustine spoke his last words on the subject in the Tractatus Aduersus Iudaeos (427–430), the doctrine was no longer his primary guide in thinking about how Christians should interact with Jews. In marked contrast to his earlier views, here, Augustine passionately urges Jews to accept Christ and encourages his congregation to try to convert them. This reading of the Tractatus Aduersus Iudaeos calls for a re-examination of the development of Augustine’s teaching, particularly in the context of dramatic changes in imperial policy toward Jews in the 420s.
4. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Charles G. Kim, Jr. “Ipsa ructatio euangelium est”: Tapinosis in the Preaching of Augustine, with Special Reference to sermo 341
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In a curious turn of phrase that he offered to a particular congregation, Augustine claims that a belch became the Gospel: “Ipsa ructatio euangelium est.” The reference comes at the end of a longer digression in Sermon (s.) 341 [Dolbeau 22] about how John the Evangelist, a fisherman, came to produce his Gospel, namely he belched out what he drank in. The use of a mundane word like ructare in an oration concerning a divine being contravenes a rhetorical prohibition known as tapinosis. This kind of speech was prohibited in ancient oratory because it humiliated the subject of the declamation, and this was especially problematic if the subject was divine. According to Augustine’s reading of scripture, if the divine willfully chose to be humiliated in order to teach humility to others by example, then the person delivering a speech about the divine could contravene this oratorical vice. This article argues that Augustine does precisely that in s. 341 by examining the reasons for Augustine’s use of the terms ructare and iumentum. Specifically, it traces their usage in various Latin texts from Cicero to Plautus to the Psalms. It argues that the virtue of humility is manifest in the very language which Augustine deploys all along the way.
book reviews and books received
5. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Zachary Yuzwa Philip Burton, ed., Sulpicius Severus’ Vita Martini
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6. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Kate Wilkinson Catherine M. Chin and Caroline T. Schroeder, eds. Melania: Early Christianity Through the Life of One Family
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7. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Raymond Hain Joseph Clair, On Education, Formation, Citizenship, and the Lost Purpose of Learning
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8. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Erika Kidd Ian Clausen, On Love, Confession, Surrender and the Moral Self
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9. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Jennifer Hevelone-Harper Christopher A. Hall, Living Wisely with the Church Fathers
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10. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
J. Columcille Dever Jesse A. Hoover, The Donatist Church in an Apocalyptic Age
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11. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Ian Gerdon Joel Kalvesmaki and Robin Darling Young, eds., Evagrius and His Legacy
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12. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Adam Ployd Elizabeth Klein, Augustine’s Theology of Angels
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13. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Elly Brown Willemien Otten and Susan E. Schreiner, eds., Augustine our Contemporary: Examining the Self in Past and Present
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14. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Gregory J. Kerr Sarah Stewart-Kroeker, Pilgrimage as Moral and Aesthetic Formation in Augustine’s Thought
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15. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Ian Boxall Tyconius, Exposition of the Apocalypse. Fathers of the Church: A New Translation. Translated by Francis X. Gumerlock. Introduction and Notes by David C. Robinson
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16. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 2
Books Received
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articles
17. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 1
Brian Dunkle, S.J. “Made Worthy of the Holy Spirit”: A Hymn of Ambrose in Augustine’s Nature and Grace
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Among the “patristic” authorities that Augustine invokes near the end of his anti-Pelagian work De natura et gratia is a couplet from Ambrose’s hymn, “Iam Surgit Hora Tertia.” While these lines have been cited as evidence of the hymn’s authenticity, few have examined their function and meaning in the context of the treatise. I argue that the lines illustrate Augustine’s distinctive use of authorities in De natura et gratia and that this use is driven by two primary motives: first, Augustine wants to counter Pelagius’s use and citation of authorities in Pelagius’s work De natura; and, second, Augustine wants to advance his own views on the necessity of the grace of Christ. Turning to “Iam Surgit,” I first show that Augustine seeks to counter a potential Pelagian “abuse” of the hymn, and especially the way the Pelagians might exploit its reference to “merit.” I then speculate that Augustine uses the hymn to offer implicit support for his own understanding of grace since, according to his reading, the source of forgiveness in Ambrose’s hymn is the gratia Christi. Augustine thus shows not only that Ambrose’s words are media, that is, equally supportive of both sides in the dispute, but also that they advance Augustine’s developing views on the priority of the grace of Christ in the prayers of humanity.
18. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 1
Veronica Roberts Ogle Therapeutic Deception: Cicero and Augustine on the Myth of Philosophic Happiness
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While many scholars have explored the Ciceronian roots of Augustine’s thought, the influence of De Finibus on De ciuitate dei has, as yet, remained unexamined. Dismissed by Testard as abstract and scholastic, De Finibus has long remained in the shadow of Cicero’s other work of moral philosophy, Tusculanae Dispuationes. This article reconsiders the nature of De Finibus and demonstrates its importance for De ciuitate dei. It begins by arguing that the dialogue is actually a meta-commentary on philosophic dogmatism, showing how each of the schools that Cicero’s interlocutors represent—i.e., the Epicureans, Stoics, and Peripatetics—claim certainty about the Wise Man’s happiness. At the heart of the dialogue’s drama is Cicero’s skepticism about this claim. This article then shows how Augustine picks up on Cicero’s explanation as to why the adherents of these schools cling so tightly to their belief in the Wise Man’s happiness. Echoing Cicero, Augustine suggests that the reason for this belief is therapeutic. Going beyond Cicero, however, he diagnoses it as a symptom of pride, arguing that what the philosophers really need is not a model of self-sufficient virtue, but a Mediator. The article ends by briefly considering how Cicero might respond to Augustine’s position.
19. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 1
Sean Hannan Augustine’s Time of Death in City of God 13
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“Only a living person can be a dying one,” writes Augustine in De ciuitate dei 13.9. For Augustine, this strange fact offers us an occasion for reflection. If we are indeed racing toward the end on a cursus ad mortem, when do we pass the finish line? A living person is “in life” (in uita), while a dead one is post mortem. But as ciu. 13.11 asks: is anyone ever in morte, “in death?” This question must be asked alongside an earlier one, which had motivated Augustine’s struggle in Confessiones 11.14.17 to make sense of time from the very beginning: quid est enim tempus? What is at stake here is whether or not there is such a thing as an instant of death: a moment when someone is no longer alive but not yet dead, a moment when they are “dying” (moriens) in the present tense. If we want to understand Augustine’s question about the time of death in ciu. 13, then we have to frame it in terms of the interrogation of time proper in conf. 11.
20. Augustinian Studies: Volume > 50 > Issue: 1
Sarah Stewart-Kroeker A Wordless Cry of Jubilation: Joy and the Ordering of the Emotions
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Joy is an affective state that, unlike fear and grief, has a certain continuity with the anticipated affective dispositions of heavenly life: for those who long for the heavenly “life of felicity,” joy responds to the same object of love and contemplation, i.e., God, whether they are on earth or in heaven. But the mortal, finite believer encounters certain obstacles to full vision and to sustained contemplation in this earthly life. This fact reveals fundamental difficulties in tracing the continuity Augustine posits in De ciuitate dei 14.9 across earthly and heavenly emotions, especially given the differences he also posits between earthly (temporal) and heavenly (eternal) states. This article examines how Augustine describes the affective (and, in particular, experiential) qualities of believers’ earthly and heavenly joy and jubilation with particular attention to the (dis)continuities between their temporal and eternal expressions in both speech and song. I argue that, by transcending the temporally-spoken word, the non-verbal cry or song comes closest to matching the expression of heavenly joy as it responds to the God who surpasses utterance, and whose embrace fulfills understanding and elicits inexhaustible love and praise.