Augustine's Intellectual Conversion: The Journey from by Brian Dobell

By Brian Dobell

This booklet examines Augustine's highbrow conversion from Platonism to Christianity, as defined at Confessions 7.9.13-21.27. it truly is broadly assumed that this happened in the summertime of 386, almost immediately prior to Augustine's volitional conversion within the backyard at Milan. Brian Dobell argues, in spite of the fact that, that Augustine's highbrow conversion didn't happen until eventually the mid-390s, and develops this declare by way of evaluating Confessions 7.9.13-21.27 with a few vital passages and issues from Augustine's early writings. He therefore invitations the reader to contemplate anew the matter of Augustine's conversion in 386: used to be it to Platonism or Christianity? His unique and critical research may be of curiosity to a variety of readers within the historical past of philosophy and the background of theology.

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The analysis of Henry 1934, pp. 82–9, showing that the correct reading is Plotini and not Platonis). Because Augustine says libri Platonicorum, it is reasonable to suppose that Plotinus was not the sole author of these books, and one naturally looks to Porphyry, Plotinus’ student and editor of the Enneads. However, Augustine does not mention Porphyry by name until c. 400 (De cons. evang. 23). Consideration must also be made for the fact that Augustine says paucissimis libris (although there is also disagreement over the significance of this expression: cf.

It seems that the absence of the Incarnation – or at least the significance of its absence – became evident to Augustine only in retrospect. In fact, the narrator of the Confessions admits that his younger self had been very confused about Christology: But I held a different view. I thought of Christ my Lord as of a man of excellent wisdom, whom no other could possibly equal; especially because, having been miraculously born of a virgin – in order to provide an example of condemning temporal things for the sake of immortality – by divine care for us, he seemed to have merited so much authority as our teacher.

4; De beat. vit. 4. Augustine also wrote a letter to Zenobius at this time (Ep. 2) and elsewhere indicates that Theodorus is a man known to his mother Monica (De ord. 31). De beat. vit. 4. Cf. Courcelle 1950, pp. 93–132. Theodorus is described as a diligent student of Plotinus at De beat. vit. 4. De civ. 29. Augustine would have learned this from Simplicianus in 386 (Conf. 3); see also below, p. 105. 12 Augustine’s Intellectual Conversion promptly turned to the Manichaeans because they, unlike Cicero, had ‘the name of Christ’.

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