Re: [xmca] Augustine vs. Bauman?

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Tue Nov 27 2007 - 10:54:49 PST

  I don't agree with your interpretation that "the salvation of man is ascribed to the unmerited grace of God and thus to predestination," since the acceptance of "the unmerited grace", is a purely individual act of faith, and not predestined.
  Everyone , except maybe Franciscans, studied Augustine, not just those of the Augstinian order.

"E. Knutsson" <> wrote:

Let‚€™s not forget that Luther was an Augustinian monk: He abandoned the study of
law and entered the monastery in Erfurt of the Order of the Hermits of St.
Augustine. By the second half of the 15th century, the Augustinian order had
become divided into two factions, one seeking reform in the direction of the
order's original strict rule, the other favouring modifications. The monastery
Luther joined in Erfurt was part of the strict, observant faction...

True, predestination has been especially associated with John Calvin and the
Reformed tradition. Both Calvin and Luther based many of their views on the
writings of St. Augustine. In some of the writings of St. Augustine and Luther,
in the decrees of the second Council of Orange (529), and in the thought of St.
Thomas Aquinas, the salvation of man is ascribed to the unmerited grace of God
and thus to predestination, but it attributes divine reprobation to man's sin
and guilt.

Augustine‚€™s doctrine of predestination was founded on his premise of unearned
election, and is, first and foremost, a doctrine of confession. Although
autobiographical narrative makes up much of the first 9 of the 13 books of
Augustine's Confessiones, autobiography is incidental to the main purpose of
the work. For Augustine confessions is a catchall term for acts of religiously
authorized speech: praise of God, blame of self, confession of faith.

"The Augustinian ‚€˜soul‚€™ is not Aristotelian ‚€˜substance‚€™ - nor is it the
Cartesian ‚€˜ghost in the machine.‚€™ It is what is referred to today as
the ‚€˜subject,‚€™ but the subject as derived from and dependent upon the God of
the Bible. Unlike the medieval debate between Thomistic intellectualism and
Scotistic voluntarism, Augustine does not regard the different dimensions of
human interiority as separate spheres ‚€˜but as aspects of one and the same act,
inseparably united with one another.‚€™ For Augustine ‚€˜the soul is the living
whole of personality, whose life is a unity, and which by its self-
consciousness is certain of its own reality as the surest truth.‚€™ In this
interpretation of will and soul in the language of personalism, Augustine
sounds very modern, for in some ways the modern period saw the further
development of this cast of thought but in a direction toward an individualism
of the ‚€˜private self,‚€™ which is contrary to Augustinian ‚€˜interiority.‚€™"

(Caputo, John D. (ed.). Augustine and Postmodernism: Confession and
Circumfession. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004, p. 161-2).


On 2007-11-26, at 21:58, Paul Dillon wrote:
> Eric,
> I tend to agree that the modern notion of individual can't be found in
ancient texts. Nevertheless, doesn't the idea that ones own life (e.g.,
Augstine's recounting of his own errant youth and subsequent redemption) can
be " a typical story, as an exemplum for all Christians" imply a concept of
individual self. I would argue that the concept of individual self is implicit
in the Christian concept of the soul and redemption. With all the deadly
consequences it has wrought humankind.
> Which is also one of the reason that the quote you provided seems strange.
The author writes:
> "Within Augustinian metaphysics human intentions play a restricted role in
> narrative of the self because of predestination " Now I'm wrong at least 40%
of the time but predestination isn't an ancient christian concept as far as I
know. Predestination is present in Calvinism but not in Catholicism . . . I
don't know whether Augustine specifically addressed it but Aquinas (most
certainly provided a cogent argument against it. In any event, the concept of
predestination undermines the possibility of individual salvation, a central
dogma in pre-Reformation Christianity. Furthermore, the essence Augustine's
argument in "On the Teacher" is precisely the inability to reduce faith to
reason, a teaching that can be compared in fundamental ways to
Kierkergaard's "leap of faith" which Kaufmann and other historians of Western
philosophy consider the first cogent expression of "existenialism", that most
individualist of philosophies. That kinship would certainly provide evidence
that some concept of "individual" was working in Augustine's thought, albeit,
> to use Hegelian terminology, in-itself and not for-itself.
> Paul

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Received on Tue Nov 27 10:57 PST 2007

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