“Pro salute nostra reparanda”: Radical orthodoxy's christology of manifestation versus Augustine's moral christology

In recent years, a new type of Neo-Augustinian theology has received extensive attention: Radical Orthodoxy. Leading figures behind Radical Orthodoxy such as John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock, and Graham Ward assert that they reclaim Augustine's theology over and against almost every major types of modern theology. Their leading claim is that an Augustinian participationist theological ontology overcomes Enlightment sourced secularism. In this essay, the Augustinian character of Radical Orthodox theology is put to the test in terms of a comparison and confrontation between Radical Orthodoxy and Augustine's Christology. It is shown that Radical Orthodoxy's sole concern with regard to Christology is in the manifestation or expression of the ontological relationship or unity of God and the world. Thus, Radical Orthodoxy has its roots in a post-Hegelian rethinking of unity in difference rather than being a rediscovery of Augustine's theology. Subsequently, it is shown that Radical Orthodoy's reading of Augustine denies his understanding of the manifestation of the being of God in Christ; furthermore, it does not account for Augustine's doctrine of atonement: where we recover our original justice and happiness through the substituting life and death of Christ, an atonement which prepares us for the vision of God in the Eschaton.
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