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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.
“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”.
“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.