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)

Augustine’s City of God, IV: Appraisal and Critique of Philosophy (Part I)

Augustine not only deals with cultural criticism in examining the history of Rome and Roman culture, he also engages in intellectual criticism as well—taking up a critique of Roman religion and Hellenic philosophy (namely Platonism and Stoicism, the two great intellectual influences over him).  Augustine is well known for having been influenced by Platonism (specifically … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, IV: Appraisal and Critique of Philosophy (Part I)

Augustine’s City of God, III: What was the Cause of Rome’s “Greatness” (Part II)

The Roman philosopher Cicero was the Plato and Aristotle of Rome.  He was the foremost orator of his day and an important political philosopher who was cherished among Christians (and Augustine).  Augustine even credits the writings of Cicero to helping him believe in God in Confessions.  However, the warm remarks he gives to Cicero in … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, III: What was the Cause of Rome’s “Greatness” (Part II)

Augustine’s City of God, II: What was the Cause of Rome’s “Greatness” (Part I)

The sack of Rome prompted pagan critics of Christianity to charge that it was the adoption of Christianity which led to Rome’s upheaval and tragic sacking at the hands of Alaric.  These critics charged that if Rome had stayed true to their old gods then those gods would have looked over Rome and sparred her … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, II: What was the Cause of Rome’s “Greatness” (Part I)

Augustine’s City of God, I: Origins and Cultural Critique

Saint Augustine of Hippo is arguably the most influential Christian philosopher and theologian who ever lived.  This is not to say he is unique among Christians; several of his writings reaffirmed already prevailing orthodoxy from the first through fourth century church fathers.  However, his reading of the Scriptures—especially Saint Paul—his theological anthropology (concerning the human … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, I: Origins and Cultural Critique