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Here are our submissions from last week on Confessions: Book VII – Chapters 1 – 10. We wrote on the topics of the philosophy and theology of evil, God’s relation to his creation, questions on whether or not God still speaks to us today, an overview of Manichean theology and how its views are still present in some way in today’s church.
Here is a late submission from the last book by Doris that you will find at the very end of the page.
We will finish up Book VII next week.
Before mentioning the questions, please read Michael’s submission from last session here at the end.
We will begin Book VII: Chapters 1 – 10 of Confessions.
Although Augustine has been using Neoplatonic terms and ideas throughout the Confessions it’s here in Book VII that he reaches the point when he first reads Neoplatonic philosophy. This is a pivitol moment for the young Augustine, who finds in Neoplatonism a way of reconciling his long pursuit of philosophy with his new and serious faith in Christianity. The union of this philosophy and this theology will guide his work (including the Confessions) for the rest of his life.
Saint Augustine, detail from the Doctors of the Church Cycle, 1487-1492, fresco, Church of the Santissima Annunziata, Franciscan Monastery, Cortemaggiore, Emilia-Romagna. Italy, 15th century.
We conclude Book VI of “Confessions” with essays on self-interest vs. public interest in political offices, the role of the Church and her teachings on premarital sex, and thoughts on universal salvation and a glimpse into the true cost of forgiveness and grace.
Read them here.
We will finish Book VI of Confessions, where Augustine deals with issues of the pursuit of truth, his struggles with lust, the afterlife, and final judgment.
Here are our essays for Book VI: Chapters 1 – 8, where we discuss about materialism and happiness, and on the culture of anti-intellectualism in American churches in general and what it means to love God with all your mind.
We had our first meeting back from over a month this past Sunday. We were a bit rusty in the beginning but we quickly picked up from right where we were before.
We went over Book V: Chapters 8 – 13 of Augustine’s “Confessions.” We discussed about whether or not we should read the Bible literally, if Christianity is meaningless without an afterlife, the role of doubt and skepticism in matters of faith, whether or not your sincerity and way of living affects answers to prayer, how we “picture” God when we pray, and whether or not the concept or reality of evil has relevance only in human terms.
You can find our essays here.
Yes, we’re back from a month long hiatus. We will finish Book V of Augustine’s Confessions.
In 383, at the age of 29, Augustine sailed from Carthage with his partner and their son, along with his two close friends Alypius and Nebridius, to Rome for a teaching position where he hoped to engage with better behaved students. By that time, Rome was no longer the center of the western empire; the emperor resided in Milan.
The next year, after winning a competition for a post as public teacher of rhetoric, he moved to Milan. It was there that he first encountered the formidable figure of Ambrose the bishop of Milan. He was to have a profound influence on Augustine’s life and thought.
Last night we went over our essays on Book V: Chapters 1 – 7 which you will find here. In these chapters, Augustine spends most of his time remembering his encounter with the preeminent Manichean scholar Faustus of Mileve and how it was through that meeting with him that eventually lead him away from Manichaeism.
We had an interesting discussion on the education (or lack of) in higher degrees for people in church leadership. We also discussed whether or not animals or creation in general can worship God, how science and religion could be reconciled, and how science can expose errors in theology.
I also came across an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal on a new book about St. Augustine by Robin Lane Fox titled Augustine: Conversions to Confessions that you can check out here.
Book V follows the young Augustine (he was around 29 years old at this time) from Carthage (where he finds his students too rowdy for his liking) to Rome (where he finds them too corrupt) and on to Milan, where he will remain until his conversion.
He spends most of the first half of this book recounting his encounter with Faustus, a Manichee luminary.
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