Re: [xmca] Augustine vs. Bauman?

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Tue Nov 27 2007 - 10:59:52 PST

Yes, also Bob Dylan:
  "I dreamed I saw St. Augustine,
Alive as you or me,
Tearing through these quarters
In the utmost misery,
With a blanket underneath his arm
And a coat of solid gold,
Searching for the very souls
Whom already have been sold.

"Arise, arise," he cried so loud,
In a voice without restraint,
"Come out, ye gifted kings and queens
And hear my sad complaint.
No martyr is among ye now
Whom you can call your own,
So go on your way accordingly
But know you're not alone."

I dreamed I saw St. Augustine,
Alive with fiery breath,
And I dreamed I was amongst the ones
That put him out to death.
Oh, I awoke in anger,
So alone and terrified,
I put my fingers against the glass
And bowed my head and cried."
  Sting is a prince, but Dylan a king.
  Paul . . . .

Tony Whitson <twhitson@UDel.Edu> wrote:
  Augustine can sound modern, if selective quotes are considered outside the
context of his thought. Famously, for example, the second of these three
lines in the lyrics of a song by Sting:

The less I need the more I get
Make me chaste but not just yet
It's a promise or a lie I'll repent before I die

[Saint Augustine in Hell
>From the album Ten Summoner's Tales (A&M)
Words and music by Sting]

On Tue, 27 Nov 2007, E. Knutsson wrote:

> Paul,
> 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).
> E.
> 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
> the
>> 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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> xmca mailing list

Tony Whitson
UD School of Education

"those who fail to reread
are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
-- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)_______________________________________________
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Received on Tue Nov 27 11:01 PST 2007

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