It has been over a decade since the first edition of The Cambridge Companion to Augustine was published. In that time, reflection on Augustine's life and labors has continued to bear much fruit: significant new studies into major aspects of his thinking have appeared, as well as studies of his life and times and new translations of his work. This new edition of the Companion, which replaces the earlier volume, has eleven new chapters, revised versions of others, and a comprehensive (...) updated bibliography. It will furnish students and scholars of Augustine with a rich resource on a philosopher whose work continues to inspire discussion and debate. (shrink)
Expelled from Moscow in 1922, Boris Vysheslavtsev spent most of his life at the Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris. This volume captures what was most dear to Vysheslavtsev during those fruitful years: the nature of freedom and the working out of an anthropology that is able to make sense of power, suffering, and what he calls the “tragically sublime,” as well as the human longing for immortality. The issues Vysheslavtsev poses here are clearly marked by his response to Soviet ideology, (...) opening with these words: “The main problem in the world today is the problem of freedom and slavery, of freedom and tyranny—anyway, this has always been the main theme of Russian philosophy”. If the questions with which he opens are peculiarly Russian, the answers provided throughout are confidently Christian. For, Vysheslavtsev sees the human person’s imago Dei and the role of sanctifying grace in the world as the most convincing arguments against all forms of unjust authority and despair. (shrink)
Pattersons work is ultimately an investigation into postmodern hermeneutical theories. She proceeds by applying Wittgensteins distinction between languages ability to describe but never justify matters of empirical fact to theological questions raised by later twentieth century thought. Patterson realizes that as speaking persons we inevitably play language-games, and it is precisely these games which allow us to relate to other persons, both human and divine. In exploring such a line of thought, she clearly sees her own work as the pursuit (...) of a more helpful Wittgenstein, the goal of which is to bring many voices together to construct a way that enables Christianity to hold on to an unwavering realism while simultaneously admitting that all use of human language is inevitably fragmentary and idolatrous. As she rightly asks, For who but God is able to comprehend the whole?. In other words, how can Christianity maintain the absoluteness of the Divine amid the contingency and flux of human experience as manifested in temporal relationships, in language? It is unfortunate that from the start Patterson provides no clear definition of how she will use the term postmodernism, pays no attention to its roots in post-Cartesian thought, and, in limiting her treatment to the linguistic, overlooks elemental critiques against modernity such as, the claim to power and the deification of progress. (shrink)
Bringing decades of expertise to his examination of many diverse issues in the history of philosophy, Sweeney begins with Émil Bréhier’s criticism that “Christian” and “philosophy” are mutually exclusive in both content and method. Sweeney places himself firmly in the middle of this century’s Thomistic renewal by arguing that no philosophy is absolutely free from belief and, as such, philosophy is only enriched in serving revealed truth. Sweeney, with Maritain and others, accordingly reads all of Greek philosophy as preparing the (...) way for Christian revelation. Thus the first of five parts, Christian Philosophy: Fact or Fiction, meets Bréhier’s challenge by examining not only the possibility but the richness of Christian philosophy. (shrink)
Why are we sometimes drawn to our own pain, fascinated with our own melancholy? How is it that we can choose to injure ourselves and to rebel against our innate hunger for wholeness and perfection? This article discusses St. Augustine’s understanding of self-loathing and how it stems from the Fall and a consequent false love of self. Augustine analyzed sin as a way of establishing myself as my own sovereign, creating an idol which must eventually be pulled down if I (...) am to be made whole. For Augustine, then, sin destroys that which had already become tarnished through his own bad choices. However, he also taught that the incarnate Word steps into this vicious cycle of self-destruction in order to call each person into a conscious and confessional relationship with himself. (shrink)
Contending that much of modern ethical discourse relies too often on impersonal rules or some outcome-based theory, Jean Porter proposes a new look at the virtues as found in St. Thomas Aquinas. Focusing on the question, "How does one decide to do the right thing?" Porter attempts to demonstrate a theory of morality which lies between perfunctory norms and capricious whims.
Arraj's aim in this book is to examine the noetic activities involved in the intuition of being, mystical contemplation, and mysticism of the self within the whole of Jacques Maritain's writings. Arraj shows how these three activities are directed ultimately toward God but achieve this end differently and in different depths. Chapter 1 provides a good examination of Maritain's earlier years and Arraj indicates that Maritain begins by stressing the importance of the intuition of being and its necessity for any (...) metaphysician. Convinced that the human person could truly know what is, Maritain combines Bergson's insights on subjectivity and duration with the Thomistic reliance upon the primacy of existence. In doing so, Maritain insists that the individual metaphysician go beyond what things are and intuit that they exist. This spontaneous acknowledgment of being allows one to see that all things, by the very fact that they are, point to Ipsum esse subsistens. Accordingly, this indirect and analogous knowledge of God is the "final conclusion" of knowing any created thing. (shrink)