Review of Metaphysics 37 (3):547 - 577 (1984)

BETWEEN St. Augustine and Plato, as between St. Thomas and Aristotle, there are significant analogies. If Whitehead exaggerated only pardonably little in describing Western philosophy as a series of footnotes to Plato, one could point to a similar relationship between Christian thought and Augustine. Plato and Augustine were fertile in inspiration, Aristotle and Aquinas were systematizers on the grandest scale. Augustine is often styled the Christian Plato; this is true in part because he was a Platonist, but perhaps even more because both men were great artists, who have scarcely had rivals in the whole of Western philosophical history. Even in their manner of artistry they agree, for both were censorious of art, and indeed for analogous reasons; yet each manifested in his writings an artistry that somehow achieved the goal for the attainment of which he disputed with art itself. The difficulty of disengaging from the thought of Plato, or of Augustine, a series of views, a synthesis of arguments, a statement of acquired conclusions, is notorious; the expositor who, like myself, undertakes to explain the Augustinian view of time cannot hope simply by excerpting a series of propositions from the living dialectic of the Confessions to present them as a remainderless rendering of the original, any more than one can translate poetry into prose and expect to retain its meaning, without remainder. If the attempt is made, there remains, despite all disclaimers and warnings, an ineluctable element of betrayal. I offer what I do, neither in the guise of an accurate summary of Augustine's views on time, nor as a rebuttal of other interpretations of Augustine's mind, but simply as an incitement to the reading of the Confessions, and as a provocation or stimulus to philosophical mimesis.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph19843731
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,735
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Augustine's Theory of Time.Dominic McGrattan - 2016 - Heythrop Journal 57 (4):659-665.
Augustine's Theory of Time.Dominic McGrattan - 2013 - Heythrop Journal 54 (5):n/a-n/a.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
67 ( #153,932 of 2,432,404 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #214,198 of 2,432,404 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes