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This article calls for a new understanding of the relationship between classicizing and Christian discourses of exemplarity through a close reading of the figure of Scipio Nasica in Livy, Ab urbe condita Book 29 and Augustine, De ciuitate Dei Books 1–2. Nasica, whose selection as a uir optimus by the Senate in 204 b.c.e. has puzzled modern scholars, was a source of historiographical difficulty for Livy that prompted him to reflect upon exemplarity, mythmaking and the tenuous relationship between past and present. For Augustine, on the other hand, Nasica was a pagan, and thus imperfect, realization of Christian pietas and restraint from luxurious behaviour. Although differing in their interpretations of the Republican exemplum, both Livy and Augustine point to the complexities inherent in invocations of paradigmatic Roman maiores. The close study of Scipio Nasica thus reveals the classicizing precedent lingering behind the supposedly ‘Christian’ rejections of pre-Christian Roman culture in the De ciuitate Dei.
Phenomenology of time-consciousness underwrites Dante’s entire experience of the letters appearing successively to him in the Heaven of Jupiter and forming a whole only in his mental synthesis of their event. Dante takes the “I” as organizing framework and originary principle of the poem. But this I and the poem itself are put forward as mediations of a higher being, that of God. The situation is thus fundamentally different from that in modern phenomenological tradition, where the “I” as mediation of otherness is centered in itself rather than in a divine Other. The self in the perspective of Dante’s poem is a structure serving to relate to God as the absolute Other rather than simply encompassing all possible reality within its own parameters. Whereas in modern philosophy from Descartes to Husserl, otherness has typically been comprehended as no more than a detour back to self and thus as an indirect mode of self-relation, we need to stand this insight on its head (or turn it inside out) in order to see things from Dante’s perspective. Not the I, but God, is the ground and principle in Dante’s theocentric world-view. The reality of the “I” is derivative: it consists of being “made in God’s image.”
This chapter examines the dynamics of the notion of peregrinatio in Augustine’s thought, with particular attention given to its use in the Enarrationes in Psalmos. It uses Derrida’s reflections on metaphor to explore the rich regression of images in peregrinatio. Augustine uses the concept, literally denoting the status of a resident alien, to express the affective dynamics of a Christian living away from their home in the heavenly Jerusalem: their sense of misalignment in the world, but also their sense of joy in the very transience of their existence. For no one can be a peregrinus without having a home from which he has traveled, and to which he looks forward to returning. Derrida’s phrase the “destinerrancy of desire” perfectly captures this Augustinian notion.
Investigates the proliferating texts and traditions about Jesus in the early church and the decision in favour of the canonical four. By examining the competing options, the decision in favour of a fourfold gospel is seen as a decision for plurality within limits: the limits sustaining the coherence of the apostolic testimony to Jesus, and the plurality allowing the richness and complexity of the truth about Jesus to be displayed.
The inspiration for this volume comes from the work of its dedicatee, Brent D. Shaw, who is one of the most original and wide-ranging historians of the ancient world of the last half-century and continues to open up exciting new fields for exploration. Each of the distinguished contributors has produced a cutting-edge exploration of a topic in the history and culture of the Roman Empire dealing with a subject on which Professor Shaw has contributed valuable work. Three major themes extend across the volume as a whole. First, the ways in which the Roman world represented an intricate web of connections even while many people's lives remained fragmented and local. Second, the ways in which the peculiar Roman space promoted religious competition in a sophisticated marketplace for practices and beliefs, with Christianity being a major benefactor. Finally, the varying forms of violence which were endemic within and between communities.
This chapter examines the early emergence of civilian protection norms in medieval Europe and traces their development in the religious and secular strands of just war theory. It argues that the Peace of God played social movement in medieval Europe played a key role in the emergence of the principle of civilian immunity. Second, it shows that the theory set forth in Chapter 2 provides a useful account of how the principle of civilian immunity arose in medieval Europe and why it persisted from the medieval period through the Enlightenment. Throughout, it examines the arguments of key just war theorists and international lawyers, including Augustine, Aquinas, Vitoria, Suarez, Grotius, and Vattel.
Peter Casarella presents the themes in Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s reflection on conscience. An important part of Benedict’s theory is his theology of culture. Current ideas about conscience and culture minimize truth. Benedict posits that conscience is a law on the heart and is not merely consciousness. He submits that culture points to the unveiling of a Redeemer. He proposes “interculturality,” the meeting of cultures in which their hope for Advent is kept. Regarding truth and conscience, Benedict works with Newman and Socrates. He concludes that conscience is the voice of truth in the subject. Benedict’s theory of conscience hews the Thomistic line between synderesis and conscience as an act of judging upon a good. Benedict guards against relativism by suggesting that synderesis can be known by the Platonic idea of anamnesis: memory of the true and good. This is tied to Benedict’s anthropology, namely humans’ reliance upon God and capacity for dialogue with Him. Though social circumstances can be sources of moral knowledge, the person should consult God’s will. Consciences are formed through Scripture, the Holy Spirit, the magisterium, beauty, and identification with Christ.
The first principles behind the developmental idea are linear time, interiority and staged structure. ‘Development’ is one particular historical way of conceptualizing the primary principle of change; in it, human time is an attempt at successful ‘recapitulation’ (a term that would reappear with modern developmental psychology’s founder, G. Stanley Hall) of Adam’s initial failure. In monotheism, time constructs interiority as permanence, ‘the mind’, in contrast with the temporary visitations of pagan or shamanic religion. Medieval psychology saw a proliferation of its ‘faculties’ (memory, imagination, judgement) and ‘operations’ (abstraction, attention, consciousness, logical reasoning, information-processing), which penetrated both the monastic and the humanist idea of the individual. Augustine’s ‘six ages’ of man gave the lifespan a fixed structure. Following the Reformation, change in the elect minority was seen either as instantaneous or as a stadial sequence: Jansenists and Calvinists on the one hand, Jesuits and Arminians on the other, disputed the function of human agency in relation to divine determinism.
In this contribution, I offer a study of what I take to be the core argument of Augustine’s De Immortalitate Animae, a series of notes that, once reworked into dialogue form, were designed to form book III of his Soliloquies. Taking his starting-point from the premise that a structured body of truths (disciplina), e.g. geometry or arithmetic, always exists, and that it must inseparably exist in a subject, i.e. the soul, Augustine claims to deduce that the soul is immortal. This argument contrasts interestingly with the arguments from recollection in Plato’s Phaedo and Meno, which begin from the premise that the soul’s innate knowledge could not have been acquired in a person’s lifetime. Innate knowledge, however, is no guarantee of the soul’s eternal pre- or post-existence, since the soul could have come to be in time with its knowledge already present. Augustine’s method of argument, which makes the soul’s immortality depend on the eternity of truth, avoids this objection, only to face other serious difficulties of which he himself was well aware. I will discuss a number of these problems, before finally considering whether the concept of ‘reason’ (ratio) in chapters 10-11 of his embryonic treatise can establish a firm link between truth and immortality.
'Phantom limb pain' designates the sensations which seem to emanate from limbs that in reality are missing. The phrase was coined by the American Civil War surgeon, Weir Mitchell, in reference to his fictional amputee, George Dedlow. Contemporary neuroscience holds that the brain encloses a schema which covers the whole body, and asserts its unity even if certain parts are missing. Reading backwards from Dedlow's sufferings, Alastair Minnis traces the medieval precedents and parallels, focusing on Augustine and Dante, who subscribed to the notion of a 'body in the soul'. Dante's souls in purgatory self-prosthesize with aerial phantoms as they long for the full embodiment which only the resurrection can bring. Is a complete body necessary for personhood? And how can the gamut of human feelings be run if parts or the entirety of one's body does not exist? Combining medieval studies and contemporary neuroscience, this absorbing study explores the fascinating and surprising history of phantom pain.
Natural law, in the Augustinian and Thomist sense, reflects not merely man’s nature as it is, but as it should be, accounting for the moral aspirations and moral instincts they believed were natural to man’s being. Natural law requires us to live justly: to live well in society, with love towards one another. What does it mean to love our neighbors politically? It means to live and govern in accordance with the “tranquility of order.” Responsibility for upholding this kind of peace is what “sovereignty” meant in the Augustinian era. Peace is not merely the absence of violence, but the presence of the conditions that enable flourishing. Just war is war that accords with justice: it is authorized political violence required to uphold love-directed justice. War is an instrument for defending and sustaining the tranquility of order, understood as an act of love for our neighbors and our enemies alike. With this framework, Augustinian thinkers generally favored humanitarian and state building interventions: military operations to protect the innocent, stop war crimes or crimes against humanity, punish tyrants and war criminals, and foster conditions of lasting peace and stability.
The intellectual history of just war thinking should be understood as unfolding in three traditions: the Augustinian, the Westphalian, and the Liberal. The Augustinian tradition of just war thinking rested on the idea that natural law exists and should guide human social and political order to fulfill natural human moral aspirations; that sovereignty means responsibility for the common good; and that justice should guide states to use force to defend the common good. In the Westphalian tradition, sovereignty evolved from defense of the common good to defense of international borders, and just cause shrank to encompass only territorial self-defense. In the embryonic Liberal tradition, concepts like human rights and accountable governance do the work that natural law and justice did in the Augustinian tradition: external standards outside and above the state used to judge the state’s legitimacy. The Liberal just war tradition allows war to vindicate the rights of individuals suffering under a humanitarian emergency, insists on respecting individual rights in how war is fought, and understands the vindication of individual rights a crucial part of ending wars justly.
The Augustinian, Westphalian, and Liberal traditions are each insufficient to guide ethical reasoning about war today. The answer lies in a partial synthesis among them, especially the Augustinian and Liberal traditions. The language of natural law and human rights are especially useful because they can make moral claims about the common good across the boundaries of culture and religion. In the Augustinian Liberal perspective, the principles of ordered liberty, human rights, and human flourishing do much the same work that natural law and justice did for the Augustinian tradition as an external standard above the state, to which the state must be accountable. Justice requires the vindication of rights but is not exhausted with rights because it also requires the sustainment of conditions required for rights to be meaningful, to promote human flourishing—which is a long way of saying that justice requires ordered liberty. Sovereignty means responsibility for the common good, which means responsibility for establishing, sustaining, and defending a system of ordered liberty at home and abroad. And ordered liberty is as close to a universal value system as the world has yet seen.
When is war just? What does justice require? If we lack a commonly-accepted understanding of justice – and thus of just war – what answers can we find in the intellectual history of just war? Miller argues that just war thinking should be understood as unfolding in three traditions: the Augustinian, the Westphalian, and the Liberal, each resting on distinct understandings of natural law, justice, and sovereignty. The central ideas of the Augustinian tradition (sovereignty as responsibility for the common good) can and should be recovered and worked into the Liberal tradition, for which human rights serves the same function. In this reconstructed Augustinian Liberal vision, the violent disruption of ordered liberty is the injury in response to which force may be used and war may be justly waged. Justice requires the vindication and restoration of ordered liberty in, through, and after warfare.
The relation of early Christianity to ancient Platonism has been a conflicted issue in historical scholarship, bringing to the fore latent questions about the nature of philosophy and shape of Christian theology. This chapter is intended to build upon recent advances in the scholarly interpretation of both Platonism and Early Christianity, in order to disentangle some long-standing interpretive issues. It emphasizes the role of Platonism and Christianity in the emergence of monotheism in late antiquity and the importance of Platonism in the development of the philosophical idea of transcendence.
More common than Dante’s afterdeath schematic was that of St Thomas Aquinas; both have a supernal heaven, but Thomas’s infernal regions, based on Scripture and tradition, consisted of the limbo of the Fathers, emptied by Christ at his death, at the highest; immediately beneath it was the temporary hell of purgatory; under that was the limbo of infants; and at the very bottom was the region of the perpetually damned. It was believed that both souls in heaven (the saints) and the suffering souls in purgatory could somehow return to the earth’s surface, and it was also believed that some of the departed souls suffered their purging on earth instead of, or as well as, in purgatory (the ghost in Hamlet is a late example). It was assumed that these souls of the ‘saved dead’ had knowledge of what was happening among still-embodied mortals, and they were able (with divine permission) to have immediate means of communication with them.
Chapters 6–7 constitute Part II, entitled “Whence Evil?” Chapter 6 studies theories of the first cause of evil in Augustine and Pseudo-Dionysius. Assuming that moral evil came about in a world created good, Augustine faces the question of what first causes evil. If one assumes that evil has a cause, one is faced with the dilemma that moral evil is caused by either a good will or an evil will; but a good will cannot cause moral evil at all, and an evil will cannot cause the first moral evil. So Augustine argues that evil does not have an efficient cause, but only a deficient cause, which means that evil ultimately lacks an explanation. Augustine holds that evil originated in something good, but cannot be caused by something good. Pseudo-Dionysius agrees with Augustine that evil lacks an efficient cause and adds that evil cannot be a final cause: no one acts for the sake of evil.
A crucial methodological recourse in matters of deliberation and inquiry, common sense has a dual bearing. On the positive side, there is a strong pro-presumption that any answers we give to questions of policy and procedure shall incorporate and stand in confirmation with our common-sense beliefs on the matter. On the negative side, there is a strong con-presumption against any rejection or abandonment of common-sense beliefs, and a cogent justification should be provided for any step in this direction. Methodologically, the common-sense approach exerts a strong constraint on our procedures of explanation and validation. This chapter explores how we should think of methodology in common-sense philosophy. Common sense is neither a cognitive faculty nor a way of producing beliefs. A common-sense belief is not produced in a certain way but rather a particular sort of belief, that is, one that is available to people in general on account of its triteness, its palpable obviousness. A common-sense belief is pervasive among the members of a community on the basis of their shared experiences in managing everyday affairs. Common-sense beliefs address matters of everyday run-of-the-mill; they relate to what transpires within the sphere of the ordinary course of things in everyday life.
Augustine famously believed fallen human sex to be inescapably bound up with sinful lust. In every sexual act, lust embodies both the sin of the fall (prideful idolatry) and that sin's consequences. John C. Cavadini has extended Augustine's conception of lust to include domination, and even violence. This leaves us with a disturbing question: is sex without violence possible? Building upon Jean-Luc Marion's distinction between idol and icon, this paper locates a solution to the problem of lust in Augustine's conception of friendship. Identifying the beloved as an icon of God entails relating to the beloved without lustful domination.
A now conventional model, developed by Robert Markus, sees late Roman cities as fundamentally secular landscapes. Focusing on Augustine's sermon against a feast of the genius of Carthage (Sermo 62), this article argues that narratives of ‘secularity’ have neglected pagans’ own attitudes and the circumstances that drove ordinary Christians’ participation in civic rites. Behind Augustine's charges of ‘idolatry’ lay the religious convictions of the feast's non-Christian sponsors and behind their expectations of Christian attendance lay the recent destruction of a pagan shrine on church property. For Augustine's listeners to construe the feast as religiously irrelevant was an expression not of routine social solidarity, but of fear before powerful patrons. What was ‘secular’ was open to doubt and negotiation, both here and in empire-wide celebrations such as the Kalends of January; the boundary between the ‘pagan’ and the ‘secular’ can be located only with careful attention to the diversity of opinions about each particular rite.