Augustine and Classical Theism

Chapter

Abstract

This paper is an abbreviated reflection on the notion of ‘classical theism’ in reference to Augustine. The importance of contemplation and interior ascension to Augustine’s theism is emphasized with particular reference to texts from the Confessions. For Augustine knowledge of the transcendent God of classical monotheism was available only through the soul’s moral transformation and its renewed ontological participation in the being of God. Thus God could only be known to be ‘one’ or ‘simple’ or ‘unchanging’ or ‘self same’ by souls who have come to share deeply in those characteristics through unmediated association with God. These well-known attributes of ‘classical theism’ are not, therefore, abstract terms – the products of speculative metaphysics – but characteristics that emerge from the soul’s exercise of contemplation. Hence ‘classical theism,’ as it is conventionally understood in post-Enlightenment philosophy of religion, captures only the manifest image of a much larger and deeper understanding of our approach to the divine, one that supersedes more limited, abstract representations.

Keywords

Human Soul Eternal Life Epistemic Foundation Unitive Knowledge Cognitive Success 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Eliot, T.S. 1943. Four quartets, “Burnt Norton”. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.Google Scholar
  2. Evans, G. 1980. Old arts and new theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Hartshorne, C., and William Reese. 1953. Philosophers speak of God. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Kenney, J.P. 2005. The mysticism of Saint Augustine: Rereading the confessions. New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Whitehead, A.N. 1925/1967. Science and the modern world. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religious StudiesSt. Michael’s CollegeColchesterUSA

Personalised recommendations