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Reading Augustine’s Confessions Lecture 3: Books III and IV Dr. Ann T. Orlando.

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Presentation on theme: "Reading Augustine’s Confessions Lecture 3: Books III and IV Dr. Ann T. Orlando."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reading Augustine’s Confessions Lecture 3: Books III and IV Dr. Ann T. Orlando

2 Books III and IV  Historical context  Reading the Text  Influence

3 Historical Background  Cicero  Rhetoric as a career  Aristotle  Theodicy problem  Manicheans  Early Understanding of Scripture

4 Cicero 106 – 43 BC  Great Roman rhetorician Engaged in Republican politics Engaged in Republican politics Engaged in philosophy Engaged in philosophy  Philosophical influences on Cicero New Academy: Platonism with an emaphsis on skepticism New Academy: Platonism with an emaphsis on skepticism Stoicism: Belief in providence, natural law Stoicism: Belief in providence, natural law  Impact on Augustine Hortensius or Exhortation to Philosophy (now lost) Hortensius or Exhortation to Philosophy (now lost) On Friendship On Friendship On the Orator and other works on rhetoric On the Orator and other works on rhetoric

5 Philosophy as a Way of Life  Various philosophical schools in antiquity were dedicated to showing people (adults) how to lead their lives Not like contemporary academic studies Not like contemporary academic studies More like a ‘spiritual’ movement or religion More like a ‘spiritual’ movement or religion Some Romans in 1 st and 2nd Century thought Christianity was a type of philosophical school Some Romans in 1 st and 2nd Century thought Christianity was a type of philosophical school  Emphasized virtues, control of self  Explored relation between individual and society and divine  Encouraged philosophical ‘exercises’  Almost all serious philosophical work done in Greek

6 Rhetoric as a Career  Rhetorician was the most important profession in ancient Roman life Politics Politics Business Business  Art of persuasion was critical to Roman society But what is relation to truth? But what is relation to truth?

7 Aristotle 384 – 322 BC  Student of Plato, teacher of Alexander the Great  Founded his own philosophical school (Peripatetics) Very interested in material world Very interested in material world Concerned with systematizing knowledge Concerned with systematizing knowledge  A few of most important works Categories Categories On Interpretation On Interpretation Prior and Posterior Analytics Prior and Posterior Analytics Physics Physics Metaphysics Metaphysics Ethics Ethics Politics Politics  Most important philosopher in Middle Ages

8 Theodicy Problem  Simply stated: If there is an omniscient and omnipotent good creator God, how can there be evil and suffering in the world  Possible ‘logical’ solutions: God did not create the world God did not create the world Or God is not omniscient and omnipotent Or God is not omniscient and omnipotent Or the creator God is not a good God Or the creator God is not a good God

9 Astrology in Antiquity  Movement of stars controlled people and the course of history  Knowing precisely how stars and planets moved very important  Deep belief that celestial regions beyond the moon were unchanging, therefore more like spirit than matter Therefore Manichaeism placed great importance in astrology Therefore Manichaeism placed great importance in astrology

10 Mani  Persian, founder of Manichaeism Mani considered himself reincarnation of Apostle Paul and/or incarnation of Holy Spirit Mani considered himself reincarnation of Apostle Paul and/or incarnation of Holy Spirit  Synchristic combination of Gnostic and Montanist Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism: “As once Buddha came to India, Zoroaster to Persia, and Jesus to the lands of the West, so came in the present time, this prophecy through me, the Mani, to the land of Babylonia" “As once Buddha came to India, Zoroaster to Persia, and Jesus to the lands of the West, so came in the present time, this prophecy through me, the Mani, to the land of Babylonia"  Very potent, well organized religion Manicheans is China Manicheans is China Lasted for over a Millennium (Dominicans founded to combat Cathars, a Manichean sect is 13 th C) Lasted for over a Millennium (Dominicans founded to combat Cathars, a Manichean sect is 13 th C)  Accepts some aspects of NT  ‘Martyred’ by Persians

11 Main Points of Manichaeism  Solve the theodicy problem by saying that there are two gods: one evil, one good  Material world associated with evil god  Special knowledge comes from good god; only available to initiated Manicheans Exclusive, elite community Exclusive, elite community Celibate Celibate Vegetarians Vegetarians  Canon includes parts of NT, Zoroastrianism and works of Mani

12 Canon of Scripture  Canon is from Greek for ruler or measuring stick In Latin regula In Latin regula The ruler by which we should measure ourselves The ruler by which we should measure ourselves Many philosophical schools had ‘canons’ Many philosophical schools had ‘canons’  For early Christian the correct canon of Scripture was a major debate Old Testament in or out Old Testament in or out Which parts of the New Testament were in or out Which parts of the New Testament were in or out Other apocryphal works in or out Other apocryphal works in or out  In all cases, early Christians relied on Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint  Augustine was probably reading from what is now known as the Old Latin Bible

13 Confessions Structure Augustine's Reflection on His Past Book I: From God; birth and relationship of infant with mother Book II: Bondage of Flesh Book II: Bondage of Flesh Book III: Slavery of eyes and mind; problem of evilBook III: Slavery of eyes and mind; problem of evil Book IV Ambition of World Book IV Ambition of World Book V Encounter with Faustus, Manichaeism, philosophy; moving from Carthage to RomeBook V Encounter with Faustus, Manichaeism, philosophy; moving from Carthage to Rome Book VI: Recognition of emptiness of world’s ambition Book VI: Recognition of emptiness of world’s ambition Book VII: Freedom of mind; resolution of problem of evilBook VII: Freedom of mind; resolution of problem of evil Book VIII: Liberation from bondage of flesh Book VIII: Liberation from bondage of flesh Book IX: Relation to Monica, her death, return to God Augustine’s Present Book X: Memory Book XI: Time Book XII: Interpreting Scripture Book XIII: Trinity and Church

14 Book III Outline  Love and lust III.1.1 – III.iii.5  Augustine at School III.iii.6  Reading Cicero and Scripture III.iv.7 – III.v.9  Joining the Manicheans III.vi.10 – III.x.18  Monica’s reaction III.xi.19 – III.xii.21

15 Book III Love and lust III.i.1 – III.iii.5  “I was in love with love…”  Vicarious experiences of love at theatre  Note relation between love and suffering Right and wrong loves, right and wrong sufferings Right and wrong loves, right and wrong sufferings  Early encounter with a girl in Church

16 Book III School and Bullies III.iii.6  Augustine was the best student in rhetoric But in retrospect Augustine does not have much respect for his profession But in retrospect Augustine does not have much respect for his profession Art of deceiving people Art of deceiving people  Wreckers – a fraternity of bullies But who are they wrecking first and foremost But who are they wrecking first and foremost Even at the time, Augustine not influenced by them Even at the time, Augustine not influenced by them

17 Book III Reading Cicero and Scripture III.iv.7 – III.v.9  Cicero’s book Hortensius deeply influenced Augustine Encouraged him to read philosophy Encouraged him to read philosophy Helped him to pray better Helped him to pray better But name of Christ not contained in Cicero But name of Christ not contained in Cicero  Old Testament was a great disappointment Poor style Poor style Book of the simple people Book of the simple people God as anthropomorphic God as anthropomorphic  In Book VIII, Augustine will also return to philosophy and Jesus Christ

18 Book III Joining the Manicheans III.vi.10 – III.x.18  Manicheans seemed to solve many problems for Augustine Exaggerated truth claims Exaggerated truth claims Elite membership Elite membership Theodicy problem Theodicy problem  Note discussion of justice and relation for human justice and natural law Address issue of why Old Testament Patriarchs could engage in behavior not now allowed Address issue of why Old Testament Patriarchs could engage in behavior not now allowed Clearly this must have been a Manichee argument against the Old Testament Clearly this must have been a Manichee argument against the Old Testament

19 Book III Monica’s reaction III – III  At first Monica refuses to let Augustine in the house But relents But relents  In a dream she sees her and Augustine standing on the same rule (canon) Note how Augustine wants to interpret the dream Note how Augustine wants to interpret the dream  Importance of Monica’s prayers  Note advice of bishop to Monica

20 Book IV Outline  Augustine the young teacher IV.i.1 – IV.ii.2  Looking for truth in astrology IV.iii.4 – IV.iii.6  Lover and friends IV.ii.2 – IV.iv.8  Grief over loss IV.iv.9 – IV.xii.18  Worldly ambition IV.xiii.20 – IV.xv.27  Reading Aristotle IV.xvi.28 – IV.xvi.31

21 Augustine the young teacher IV.i.1 – IV.ii.2  Age 19 to 28  Taught rhetoric Note effort to not teach how to convict an innocent man Note effort to not teach how to convict an innocent man Okay to defend a guilty one Okay to defend a guilty one  Takes on a common-law wife (unnamed) Sex Sex Didn’t want children Didn’t want children  Note continuing discussion of love and marriage in Book VI

22 Looking for Truth in Astrology IV.iii.4 – IV.iii.6  Looking back on his interest in astrology Augustine finds biggest fault with it that it takes away human free will Stars and planets determine everything Stars and planets determine everything  Importance of others to help Augustine see the truth Old man (Vindicianus) Old man (Vindicianus) Nebredius Nebredius

23 Friend and Death IV.iv.7 – IV.xii.19  “I had come to have a friend because our shared interest was very close…” Friend is unnamed Friend is unnamed Initially shares Augustine's views of Christaianity Initially shares Augustine's views of Christaianity  Friend is baptized when ill and completely changes his view of Christianity Rebukes Augustine for wanting to make fun of his Baptism Rebukes Augustine for wanting to make fun of his Baptism  Friend dies Powerful description of grief Powerful description of grief Powerful meditation on friendship, love, God Powerful meditation on friendship, love, God  Note how different (and similar) Augustine's reaction will be at Monica’s death in Book IX

24 Worldly ambition IV.xiii.20 – IV.xv.27  Note how throughout his early years, false love and worldly ambition are linked for Augustine  Dedicates his book to someone he does not know Famous orator, Hierius, a type of celebrity Famous orator, Hierius, a type of celebrity ‘Loves’ him because of his fame ‘Loves’ him because of his fame Augustine seems almost to be talking about gossip magazines (IV.xiv.23) Augustine seems almost to be talking about gossip magazines (IV.xiv.23)

25 Reading Aristotle IV.xvi.28 – IV.xvi.31  The Categories did not live up to greatness promised by his teachers  Too easy; Augustine easily grasped it  God could not be described using Aristotle's categories

26 Future Influence  Theodicy and Scripture– more in Book VII  Rejection of Aristotle

27 Philosophy and Christianity  Ancient question, posed by North African theologian Tertullian, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”  Augustine championed the use of philosophical tools to help one progress in knowledge of Christianity  However, not all philosophical tools or methods are equally useful  Augustine will specifically champion use of Neoplatonism more about this in Book VII

28 Christian Theology and Aristotle  For the most part, Augustine’s approach to theology was the standard until the 13 th Century Aristotle not much read Aristotle not much read Poor Latin translations Poor Latin translations  In 13 th C new manuscripts of Aristotle became available in the West along with Jewish (Maimonides) and Muslim (Averroes) commentaries  Dominicans, St Albert the Great and his student St. Thomas Aquinas

29 Aquinas and Aristotle  For Aquinas, Aristotle was ‘The Philosopher’  Provided the method and language in which to do theology The Categories, among other works very important for this The Categories, among other works very important for this Theology that starts with considering how we might know God from his creation Theology that starts with considering how we might know God from his creation  Aquinas had to strongly defend this approach

30 Assignments  Read carefully Confessions Books III and IV  Brown, Augustine of Hippo, Chapters 4, 5, and 6  Post one long paragraph by Friday June 11  Post two responses by Sunday June 13  Teaching Christianity Book IV (optional)


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