Aquinas on the Levels of Life and the Soul

Following up on Aquinas’ Ladder of Being, we move into a related concern that the good doctor dealt with in Quaestio Disputata de Anima (Disputed Questions of Life or the Soul).[1] In this particular disputation, Aquinas is dealing with what distinguishes souls. The question at hand, which follows from an earlier disputation in another text … Continue reading Aquinas on the Levels of Life and the Soul

Aquinas and the Ladder of Being

St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the most recognizable names in Christian history and the Christian intellectual tradition. While generally held up as the perennial philosopher in the Catholic tradition, especially among Catholic realists, he is also loved—perhaps begrudgingly—by many in the Protestant world especially the so-called Reformed scholastics. There is also a lot of … Continue reading Aquinas and the Ladder of Being

Augustine’s City of God, XI: Understanding the Libido Dominandi

The libido domanandi is a Latin term that can be roughly translated as “lust for domination.” The lust for domination is, for Augustine, the driving impulse of fallen man and his society (the city of man). The twentieth century philosopher Eric Voegelin surmised that the libido dominandi was man’s “will to power” to borrow a phrase … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, XI: Understanding the Libido Dominandi

Augustine’s City of God, X: Understanding Augustine’s “Dialectic”

Augustine is sometimes seen as the father of dialectical philosophy and theology in the Christian tradition. While there is already an inkling of dialectical thought throughout the Bible, and the New Testament letters—especially Paul—it is Augustine’s City of God that begins the most robust effort at understanding this so-called dialectic of light and darkness, sin … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, X: Understanding Augustine’s “Dialectic”

Augustine’s City of God, IX: Understanding Augustine’s Hermeneutic

Part of Augustine’s ecclesiological hermeneutic which is developed more fully in the City of God is already a well-established hermeneutic in the early church: The Christological, Ecclesiological, and Spiritual reading of Scripture. However, Augustine provides the first arguable systematic account of this ecclesiological-allegorical hermeneutical lens especially from within the confines of covenant theology. While there … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, IX: Understanding Augustine’s Hermeneutic

Augustine’s City of God, VII: The City of Man

The second half of City of God (Books XI through XXII) deal with the origins and ends of the two cities.  Here Augustine shifts from his cultural criticism to a more exegetical, historical, and political focus.  Augustine begins to develop his allegorical hermeneutic of the church in these chapters, reflects on human history as contained … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, VII: The City of Man

Augustine’s City of God, VI: The Fall of Man

The City of God represents the fullest maturation of Augustine’s thoughts concerning Original Sin and the Fall of Man. Sin and the Fall are concepts so disparate now in the state of contemporary Christianity largely due to ignorance of tradition, confessions, doctrines, and patristic sources. Augustine’s reading of the Fall is not necessarily unique, St. … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, VI: The Fall of Man

Augustine’s City of God, V: Appraisal and Critique of Philosophy (Part II)

Augustine’s foremost interlocutor in the final books of Part I of City of God is the Neoplatonist (and in Augustine’s mind, neo-sophist) Porphyry.  Porphyry was already dead by the time Augustine wrote City of God, but Porphyry was one of the last intellectual critics of Christianity in the world of Late Antiquity.  Christian tradition held … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, V: Appraisal and Critique of Philosophy (Part II)