Sunday, May 27, 2012

mini-Review Augustine: Philosopher and Saint

Augustine: Philosopher and Saint by Phillip Cary is an overview of Augustine of Hippo’s work is a fun easy listen designed specifically for its audio format.
I like reading Augustine but I also like listening to summaries such as this. It gives me a feel for how an author very distant in time fits into intellectual current both today and through history. It also helps me see some big picture things that I might not see when I’m looking closely at texts to understand an author in a very different cultural setting.
    A couple of things struck me in listening to this. Augustine is inventing the concept of love; the thing the will does is always love; love is always a seeking to be united with the beloved. So the will is free, because it can not be compelled by circumstances, it is like falling love, not one can force it on you from the outside. You can compel someone, through force, or payment, or social pressure, to decide to walk down a road or smile and shake hands, or work at solving a math problem, but the actual desire to be united with something else is always internal. The other thing is the idea that maybe a biblical interpretation doesn’t have to be strictly “correct” in order to be good, it just has to point towards truly loving God. This makes me feel better my view of Job.

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