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

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 greatly assumed that this happened in the summertime of 386, presently sooner than Augustine's volitional conversion within the backyard at Milan. Brian Dobell argues, despite the fact that, that Augustine's highbrow conversion didn't take place until eventually the mid-390s, and develops this declare via evaluating Confessions 7.9.13-21.27 with a few very important passages and issues from Augustine's early writings. He hence invitations the reader to think about anew the matter of Augustine's conversion in 386: used to be it to Platonism or Christianity? His unique and demanding examine should be of curiosity to a variety of readers within the historical past of philosophy and the heritage of theology.

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Scholars today generally label Plotinus the founder of ‘Neoplatonism’, but for the intellectuals at Milan the movement was simply Platonism. These intellectuals saw a basic harmony between the wisdom of the pagan Platonists and the truth of Christianity. 90 In this milieu Augustine would have had few, if any, misgivings about relying upon pagan philosophers to aid him in his search for wisdom. This attitude stands in marked contrast to that of the nineteen-year-old Augustine, who was inflamed by Cicero’s Hortensius but 86 87 88 89 90 Ep.

80d–e. 2 Phaed. 75c–d. 31 32 The way of authority Although Augustine probably knew the Meno only indirectly,3 he takes the paradox of learning very seriously, as can be seen through a consideration of his philosophy of signs. Augustine distinguishes signs (signa) from things (res). The proper function of a sign is to point out, or signify (significare), a thing,4 while a thing does not itself signify anything else. ’7 The expected answer, of course, is nothing – signs simply cannot teach us anything.

3. On critical scholarship before Alfaric, see O’Meara 1992a, p. 121 and O’Donnell 1992, vol. i, p. xx, n. 6. Alfaric 1918, p. ’ Alfaric 1918, p. 381: ‘Il inclinait … à se faire Chrétien. Mais il ne l’est devenu définitivement que parce qu’il a cru rester ainsi un pur Platonicien. ’ Alfaric 1918, p. ’ Introduction: Augustine’s conversion to Christianity 21 ending with Pierre Courcelle (1950), subsequently arose to defend the sincerity of Augustine’s conversion to Christianity in 386, and the essential truthfulness of the story narrated in the Confessions.

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