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Confessions: Book VI – Chapters 9 – 16

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“Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife”, Carlo Cignani (Italian, 1628 – 1719)

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.

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“Confessions” Book V: Chapters 8 – 13

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Augustine and Monica sit listening to a sermon from Bishop Ambrose in a painting by Ambrogio il Bergognone (1455 – 1535), Turin, Italy

 

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.

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New Submissions for Chapter 13: “Hagia Sophia” & “Byzantine Spirituality”

Hi all,

New updates and submissions about the reign of Justinian I (aka Justinian the Great), the Byzantine Empire, Hagia Sophia, and the Orthodox theology of theosis.  You can find them here.

Tonight, there were interesting talks about what constitutes theosis and how it perhaps relates to the more Reformed understanding of sanctification.

Also, to clarify some points on terminologies that often confused us tonight:

  • Dyophysitism –  the Chalcedonian position that full deity and full humanity exist in the person of Jesus Christ as two natures without confusion or change.
  • Monophysitism – states that in the person of Jesus Christ, his human nature was absorbed into the divine nature like a cube of sugar dissolves in a cup of water. Therefore, Christ was left with only one nature, the Divine (Greek mono- one, physis – nature). (i.e. Christ had only a Divine nature.)
  • Miaphysitism –  holds that in the one person of Jesus Christ, his Divinity and Humanity are united in one “nature” (physis), the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration.  This is the position of the Orthodox and Coptic Churches.

It was also interesting to see tonight how hard it is for most Christians to articulate very basic terminologies we use all the time like:

  • What is a spirit?  How is it different from the soul?  What is a soul anyway?  After death, how exactly does the soul or the spirit separate from the body?
  • How is a soul saved by God?  Saved from what ?  It’s saved from Hell?  What is hell exactly and where exactly is it located within the known universe?  If it’s outside the universe, how do know that?  (Same questions apply to the notion/concept of heaven.)
  • What is the nature of a “resurrected” or “spiritual” body?  What type of matter will it consist of?

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