Published on June 17, 2007
Augustine and His Era: Augustine and His Era Jan. 21, 2007 – Week 2 Christian History: Christian History Why study Christian history? Understand the development of Christian thought andamp; doctrine Learn from earlier Christians who have wrestled with similar issues andamp; problems Gain insight into God’s working in history and in and through the church Understand the basis and general timeline of Western culture Biblical Reliability - Conclusions: Biblical Reliability - Conclusions The Bible’s fidelity is incontestable: meticulous transcription and massive manuscript evidence guarantee we have something extremely close to the original text The Bible’s veracity is ultimately a matter of faith, but several historical arguments support it: Composed close in time to the events High internal consistency and external confirmation Historical reliability suggests accuracy in other areas Overview – Christian History: Overview – Christian History Week 1: The Reliability of the Bible The Bible has high historical reliability Week 2: Augustine Our hearts are restless until they rest in God Week 3: Aquinas Faith and reason work with, not against, one another Week 4: Luther The just shall live by faith Week 5: The Puritans The faithful must become holy Overview – Augustine and His Era: Overview – Augustine and His Era Transitions (30 – 430 A.D.) Underground mainstream Otherworldly worldly…and back again Unlettered cultured Roman capital Eastern capital Roman dominance barbarian invasion Overview – Augustine and His Era: Overview – Augustine and His Era Major events (30 – 430 A.D.) Ten persecutions Beginnings of monasticism (esp. after 270) Peace of the Church (312) New capital – Constantinople (330) Arian struggle (300’s) Early Church Councils (Nicea – 325; Constantinople – 381; Ephesus - 431) Christianity official religion of Empire (380) Sack of Rome (410) Creed Excerpts: Creed Excerpts Nicene We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father… Athanasian For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated... Overview – Augustine and His Era: Overview – Augustine and His Era Major figures (30 – 430 A.D.) Apostolic Fathers (Clement – d. ~100, Ignatius – d. ~110, Polycarp – d. ~160) Marcion (110-160) Justin Martyr (110-165), Irenaeus (130-202), Clement of Alexandria (150-215) Tertullian (155-230), Origen (185-254) Arius (250-336), Athanasius (293-373), Eusebius (275-339) Basil the Great (330-379), Gregory of Nyssa (335-394), Gregory Nazianzus (329-389), John Chrysostom (347-407) Jerome (347-420), Ambrose (340-397), Pelagius (354-430), Augustine (354-430) Map of Roman Empire, ca. 117: Map of Roman Empire, ca. 117 Who was Augustine?: Who was Augustine? Historical context 303 – 311 A.D.: Great persecution of Diocletian and Galerius 312: Emperor Constantine’s conversion 313: Edict of Milan – official toleration for Christians 325: Council of Nicea to unify Church and Empire 354: Augustine’s birth in North Africa 361-363: Emperor Julian re-institutes Paganism 380: Emperor Theodosius makes Christianity official religion of the Empire 386: Augustine’s conversion 390: Theodosius prohibits pagan temple worship 410: Alaric the Visigoth sacks Rome Who was Augustine?: Who was Augustine? 354 A.D.: Born in Tagaste (modern Algeria) 370’s: Studied, taught rhetoric in Carthage 373: Associates himself with Manicheans 383: Travels to Italy, becomes professor of rhetoric at Imperial Court of Milan 386: Converted to Christianity under Ambrose’s preaching 388: Starts monastery in Tagaste 391: 'Conscripted' as priest by congregation at Hippo 396: Becomes Bishop of Hippo, engages in Manichean, Donatist, Paganist, and Pelagian controversies 430: Death at Hippo The Roman Empire, ca. 400 A.D.: The Roman Empire, ca. 400 A.D. Rome Milan Northern Africa at the time of Augustine: Northern Africa at the time of Augustine Hippo Regius Tagaste Modern Algeria Modern Tunisia Carthage Augustine’s Influences: Augustine’s Influences Christianity Through his mother, Monica, and Ambrose of Milan Cicero Through his education at Carthage Developed interest in Latin style, philosophy, and morality Manichaeism Due to its seeming ability to combine sensuality with philosophical rigor and its response to Christianity (Neo)platonism Doctrine of Forms important for his interpretation of Genesis Augustine’s Intellectual Legacy: Augustine’s Intellectual Legacy Synthesis between Christianity and classical theism Mysticism (centrality of the love of God) Relationship between faith and reason (Medieval) Human effort vs. divine grace (Reformation) Human perfectibility vs. original sin (Enlightenment) Relationship between faith and emotion (Romantic) Theory of signs (relation of words to the reality they describe) Augustine’s Controversies: Augustine’s Controversies Nature of the world (against Manichaeism) Ex nihilo creation of a good universe vs. matter-spirit dualism Nature of the church (against Donatism) Welcoming back repentant sinners vs. barring faithless renegades Nature of history and society (against Paganism) Contrast between the heavenly and earthly cities Nature of man and salvation (against Pelagius) God’s grace vs. man’s unaided will Augustine’s Works: Augustine’s Works Confessions First Western (spiritual) autobiography In the form of an extended address or prayer to God Themes: God’s wooing love, Augustine’s restless sin The Literal Meaning of Genesis Literal (historical) vs. allegorical or prophetic meaning Exhaustive, but deeply influenced by Platonic ideas Creative, thought-provoking exegesis The City of God Response to Roman critics of Christianity soon after the sack of Rome Explanation of Christianity vs. competing religions/philosophies Contrast between the heavenly and earthly cities Basis for the distinctness of church and state in the West Augustine’s Works - Quotes: Augustine’s Works - Quotes Accordingly, two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord…In the one, the princes and the nations it subdues are ruled by the love of ruling; in the other, the princes and the subjects serve one another in love, the latter obeying, while the former take thought for all. The one delights in its own strength, represented in the persons of its rulers; the other says to its God, 'I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength.'…For they were either leaders or followers of the people in adoring images, 'and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.' But in the other city there is no human wisdom, but only godliness, which offers due worship to the true God, and looks for its reward in the society of the saints, of holy angels as well as holy men, 'that God may be all in all.' (The City of God) Augustine’s Works - Quotes: Augustine’s Works - Quotes 'Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.' (Confessions) 'The Son of God became man so that the sons of men might become sons of God.' (The City of God) Fourfold state of human nature Pre-Fall: posse peccare, posse non peccare (able to sin, able not to sin) Post-Fall: non posse non peccare (not able not to sin) Reborn: posse non peccare (restoration of 'able not to sin') Glorified: non posse peccare (not able to sin) Bibliography: Bibliography Confessions, Augustine. The City of God, Augustine. The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Augustine. Augustine of Hippo, Peter Brown. Church History, Eusebius of Caesarea. On the Incarnation (De Incarnatione), Athanasius Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History, Richard Hannula The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon. Religion and the Rise of Western Culture, Christopher Dawson.