Contemplation and Classical Christianity: A Study in by John Peter Kenney

By John Peter Kenney

After resolving to turn into a Catholic Christian, Augustine spent a decade attempting to make clear his figuring out of "contemplation," the inner presence of God to the soul. That lengthy fight yielded his vintage account within the Confessions. This research explores Augustine's constructing knowing of contemplation, starting along with his earliest debts written prior to his baptism and finishing with the Confessions. bankruptcy One examines the pagan monotheism of the Roman Platonists and the function of contemplation of their theology. Augustine's pre-baptismal writings are then thought of in bankruptcy , monitoring his primary holiday from pagan Platonism. bankruptcy 3 then turns to Augustine's constructing realizing of contemplation in those pre-baptismal texts. bankruptcy 4 concentrates on Augustine's notion in the course of the decade after his baptism in 387, a interval that encompasses his monastic existence in Thagaste, and his years first as a presbyter after which as a bishop in Hippo Regius. This bankruptcy follows the arc of Augustine's idea via those years of transition and leads into the Confessions, giving a vantage element to survey its theology of contemplation. bankruptcy 5 concentrates at the Confessions and units its most renowned account of contemplation, the imaginative and prescient at Ostia from publication IX, right into a better polemical context. Augustine's protection of his transcendental examining of scripture in Confessions XII is analyzed after which used to light up the Ostian ascent narrative. The ebook concludes with observations at the significance of Augustine's theology of contemplation to the emergence of Christian monotheism in overdue antiquity.

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5, or excerpts from these treatises. 44: Deusque scitur melius nesciendo. 14 Rist 1994, 256–7; Madec: 1994, 71–89. 40 Contemplation and Classical Christianity being misunderstood than with metaphysical substance: the Latin “beyond esse” might in any case convey a different sense (or no sense) from the Greek “beyond einai” (“beyond finite being”). One might assume that Rist means a Latin construction such as “trans esse” or “supra esse”. Rist also underscored the role of Porphyry as a likely conduit of this language.

9) and especially in his development of his own alternative account of the fallen human self. The “tolmeric self ” is in many ways more interestingly portrayed than the embodied self described with the brighter palette of classical psychological discourse. Once again, this is not just a fugitive notion in the Enneads. 1 [10] 1 and 3–5 as well as in the middle period treatise III. 7 [45] 11 and 15–20. Soul’s procession from the Intellect has an irreducibly self-assertive or irrational aspect to it.

35 But negative theology was the primary method by which the soul could shift its focus from the incarnated self towards the divine and raise itself beyond finite materiality. Apophasis was integral to contemplation. Breaking the bounds of finite description of the divine One was salutary for the contemplative self. It also forced the self to shed some of its accretions as it pushed beneath the surface of the spatiotemporal realm and down beyond the finite bounds of its discursive consciousness. Apophatic contemplation pressed against the outer reaches of the self ’s customary reflection and confronted the soul with the radical transcendence of infinity.

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