Memory in Augustine's Theological Anthropology by Paige E. Hochschild

By Paige E. Hochschild

Reminiscence is the least studied measurement of Augustine's mental trinity of memory-intellect-will. This e-book explores the subject matter of 'memory' in Augustine's works, tracing its philosophical and theological value. the 1st half explores the philosophical background of reminiscence in Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus. the second one half indicates how Augustine inherits this subject and treats it in his early writings. The 3rd and ultimate half seeks to teach how Augustine's theological realizing of Christ attracts on and resolves tensions within the topic of memory.The position of reminiscence within the theological anthropology of Augustine has its roots within the Platonic epistemological culture. Augustine actively engages with this custom in his early writings in a way that's either philosophically refined and doctrinally in line with his later, extra openly theological writings. From the Cassiacum dialogues via De musica, Augustine issues to the relevant value of reminiscence: he examines the ability of the soul as anything that mediates experience conception and knowing, whereas explicitly deferring a extra profound therapy of it until eventually Confessions and De trinitate. In those texts, reminiscence is the root for the positioning of the Imago Dei within the brain. It turns into the foundation for the non secular adventure of the embodied creature, and a resource of the profound anxiousness that effects from the sensed competition of human time and divine time (aeterna ratio). This stress is contained and resolved, to a restricted volume, in Augustine's Christology, within the skill of a paradoxical incarnation to unify the temporal and the everlasting (in Confessions eleven and 12), and the lifetime of religion (scientia) with the promised contemplation of the divine (sapientia, in De trinitate 12-14).

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How do we demarcate the province of, say, chemistry or history or anthropology? Here it seems clear that subjects or fields of study are determined by the kind of questions to which they have been invented to provide the answers. The questions themselves are intelligible if, and only if, we know where to look for the answers. ’, he would normally know how to set about finding an answer. We may not know the answers ourselves, but we know that, in the case of the question about the coat, the proper procedure is to look on the chair, in the cupboard, and so forth.

For no matter how many questions can be so transformed as to be capable of empirical or formal treatment, the number of questions that seem incapable of being so treated does not appear to grow less. This fact would have distressed the philosophers of the Enlightenment, who were convinced that all genuine questions could be solved by the methods that had achieved so magnificent a triumph in the hands of the natural scientists of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It is true that even in that clear day men still appeared no nearer to the solution of such central, indubitably philosophical because apparently unanswerable, questions as whether men and things had been created to fulfil a purpose by God or by nature, and if so what purpose; whether men were free to choose between alternatives, or on the contrary were rigorously determined by the causal laws that governed inanimate nature; whether ethical and aesthetic truths were universal and objective or relative and subjective; whether men were only bundles of flesh and blood and bone and nervous tissue, or the earthly habitations of immortal souls; whether human history had a discernible pattern, or was a repetitive causal sequence or a succession of casual and unintelligible accidents.

In other words, we know where to look for the answer: we know what makes some answers plausible and others not. What makes this type of question intelligible in the first place is that we think that the answer can be discovered by empirical means, that is, by orderly observation or experiment, or methods compounded of these, namely those of common sense or the natural sciences. There is another class of questions where we are no less clear about the proper route by which the answers are to be sought, namely the formal disciplines: mathematics, for example, or logic, or grammar, or chess or heraldry, defined in terms of certain fixed axioms and certain rules of deduction and so on, where the answer to problems is to be found by applying these rules in the manner prescribed as correct.

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