By Michael Hanby
Augustine and Modernity is a clean and tough addition to present debates concerning the Augustinian origins of recent subjectivity and the Christian genesis of Western nihilism. It firmly rejects the dominant sleek view that the fashionable Cartesian topic, as an archetype of Western nihilism, originates in Augustine's concept. Arguing that the majority modern interpretations misrepresent the complicated philosophical dating among Augustine and glossy philosophy, relatively with reference to the paintings of Descartes, the ebook examines the a lot missed contribution of Stoicism to the family tree of modernity, generating a scathing riposte to commonly-held types of the 'continuity thesis'.
Michael Hanby identifies the trendy proposal of will that emerges in Descartes' paintings because the fabricated from a proposal of self extra right to Stoic theories of immanence than to Augustine's personal rigorous understandings of the Trinity, construction, self and should. notwithstanding Augustine's come upon with Stoicism eventually ended in a lot of his instructing being transferred to Descartes and different smooth thinkers in an adulterated shape, Hanby attracts serious realization to Augustine's personal disillusionment with Stoicism and his interrogation of Stoic philosophy within the identify of Christ and the Trinity. Representing a brand new institution of theology keen to interact seriously with different disciplines and to problem their authority, Augustine and Modernity bargains a accomplished new interpretation of De Trinitate and of Augustinian strategies of will and soul. Revealing how a lot of what's now considered 'Augustinian' in truth has its family tree in Stoic asceticism, it translates the fashionable nihilistic Cartesian topic no longer as a logical end result of a real Christian Trinitarian theology, yet particularly of its perversion and abandonment.
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Additional resources for Augustine and Modernity
For the Trinity is no more “three” in the ordinary sense than the specific “mental functions” of memory, intellect and will correspond each to a trinitarian person. 77 What, then, is the importance of these terms, and how do they relate to redemption? The discussion in De Trinitate IV both includes and precedes Augustine’s discussion of Christ’s role as mediator, and it is this, I suggest, that provides part of the key to these passages. The christological discussions of Book XIII, where Augustine resumes this theme, further warrant this conclusion.
The microcosm of the soul, in other words, will confirm and strengthen this macrocosmic conclusion. Throughout his writings, Augustine does in fact link ecclesial life with the manifestation of God’s beauty. And it is not a coincidence that the driving question in De Trinitate XV is posed just before Augustine launches into a discourse on the life of corporate charity. 62 More importantly, however, we can establish this link between charity and Augustine’s “aesthetic concern” in the confluence of at least two features of the De Trinitate.
It consists, quite plainly, in the Body of Christ which is at once the temporal manifestation of the love between Father and Son and the form of a restored creation in the image and movement of that love. This conclusion is not in conflict with the stated goal of ascension to the vision of the divine glory if we keep in mind the consequences of this position: that it is only in Christ, and through rendering perfect in our own sight the visible species of our hope, that personhood and true being are finally possible for us.
Augustine and Modernity by Michael Hanby