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UPDATE: “Confessions” Book I, Chapters 11 – 20

 

https://tomperna.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/st_augustine_of_hippo-icoin.jpg

Orthodox icon of St. Augustine – the patron saint of theologians

Here are our responses from last week on Augustine’s Confessions: Book I, Chapters 11 – 20.

We investigated Augustine’s thoughts on the relationship between the human condition and sin; baptism; mankind’s desire for wealth and fame; and his criticisms of educational institutions.

Questions for ‘Confessions’ – Book I, Chapters 11 – 20

 

external image roman_education_fresco_hi.jpg

“The rich people of Rome had a great education. They were often schooled and were taught by their own private tutor, at home they would go to schools. The schools were boys only. All the learning was based from fear, The boys would be beaten for any offence. They did this because they figured if children fear getting the wrong answer they will get it correct. If a student were to get lots of answers wrong they would be held down and beaten with a leather strap. If you were poor chances are you would be able to read and write , but you would not be able to have your own tutor or be able to go to school. ” (source: https://historicalroots.wikispaces.com/Ancient+Romans) Augustine wrote about how he was beaten at school for bad performance. He writes, “I was still a boy when I first began to pray to you, my Help and Refuge. I used to prattle away to you, and though I was small, my devotion was great when I begged you not to let me be beaten at school. Sometimes, for my own good, you did not grant my prayer, and then my elders and even my parents, who certainly wished me no harm, would laugh at the beating I got – and in those days beatings were my one great bugbear.” (Confessions, Book I, Chapter 9)

 

 

 In these chapters, Augustine describes his early education and what his childhood was like.

 

Here are some interesting facts about the time in which Augustine lived in that will provide some background information to clarify some historical details.

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“Do Infants Go to Hell if They Die Before Baptism?: The Doctrine of Original Sin Re-examined” – an Orthodox Perspective

We will be covering the Orthodox Church very soon in MacCulloch’s book, so it’s good to get a glimpse of a bit of its theology and how it differs from the West, especially when it comes to the definition of “sin”.

http://www.pravmir.com/do-infants-go-to-hell-if-they-die-before-baptism-the-doctrine-of-original-sin-re-examined/

“It is not clear by what justice humanity can share in Adam’s guilt when it existed only in potentiality in his loins at the time of the Fall.  It is also difficult to see why the children of the baptized should inherit a guilt from which their parents have been cleansed.” – Prof. Gerald Bonner, Roman Catholic theologian

It’s good to bear in mind that Augustine never intended his theology of “Original Sin” to be a world-wide, eternal church doctrine – it was the Church many years later that adopted this idea and made it into a doctrine.  Later on, Protestantism adopted this as doctrine as well and has shaped Western theology ever since.

It’s amazing how a mis-reading of the Bible that led to a mis-interpretation that led to this doctrine.  This is why it’s always critical to have good exegesis precede hermeneutics.