The particular philosophical and theological doctrines identified with the Order of St. Augustine, as well as the entire intellectual tradition stemming from Augustine and continuing, in various forms, to the 20th century. This article outlines the history of Augustinianism, discussing its doctrinal origins with St. Augustine, its development in the Middle Ages, and its status in the modern and contemporary periods.
For its founder, St. augustine, Augustinianism represented an attempt to reach an ever fuller understanding of revealed truth through supernatural graces and gifts, aided by the principles of philosophical inquiry. The various doctrines presented in this section express the more characteristic features of Augustinianism.
The Primacy of Faith. The esteem of Augustine for the role of understanding (intellectum valde ama— Epist. 120.3.13; Patrologia Latina 33:458–459) was to exercise a decisive influence not only on the destiny of Augustinianism but also on the whole intellectual history of the West. The roles of faith and reason, as distinct but inseparable sources of learning, constitute a point of departure already clearly formulated in the earliest of Augustine's works (cf. C. acad. 3.20.43). The basis for faith is the supreme authority of Christ; for reason, the philosophy of plato and plotinus, but only to the extent that it is not at variance with revealed truth. The emphasis on the primacy of faith and on the necessary function of reason permanently determined the Augustinian view of philosophy, which appears to exclude the possibility of a philosophy autonomous in its own right or completely independent of theology. Accordingly, Augustine anticipated by some five centuries the celebrated formula of Anselm of Canterbury, credo ut intelligam. Intimately connected with this relation between faith and reason is the entire Augustinian anthropology, which, neglecting a purely abstract or purely natural view of man, considers him in his full historical situation—a creature destined to share in the life of God, redeemed after his fall by Christ, who thereby becomes the central and unifying factor in any "philosophy" of history. This constant and compelling consciousness of God imparts to Augustinianism its preeminently theocentric character and leads Augustine to view God as the source of man's total life (causa, subsistendi, ratio, cognoscendi, ordo vivendi—Civ. 8.4).
The Soul. Again, because speculation is so strongly focused on God, knowledge of the soul takes on a unique importance for Augustine and his successors (see soul, human). In two of his earliest works, composed before his baptism in April 387, he had declared God and the soul the two principal objects of philosophic inquiry (Ordine 2.18.47; Soliloq. 1.15.27). But to know the soul is, in some measure, to know God, since no other creature approaches Him so closely in perfection (nihil … Deo esse propinquus—Quant. anim. 34.77). Here is the basis for the important doctrine of image, termed "the cornerstone of Augustinian anthropology," which underlies and inspires the psychological doctrine of the trinity as well as the discovery of its manifold analogies in the soul. Such concentration on the soul also gives Augustinianism its character of "interiority," which stems from Augustine's conviction that it is within the soul itself that man must search for truth and certitude (in interiore homine habitat veritas—Vera relig. 39.72). Deserving of special mention here is Augustine's refutation of universal doubt by the compelling and infallible fact of personal existence implied in acts of the thinking subject (scio me cogitare—Soliloq. 2.1.1; si fallor, sum—Civ. 11.26), which anticipates the Cartesian "cogito" and leads further to the soul's direct knowledge of itself (semetipsam per semetipsam novit—Trin. 9.3.3), which was a controversial doctrine for the Augustinians of the 13th century.
Divine Illumination. The doctrine of divine illumination is so central as to be almost identified with the very substance and spirit of Augustinianism. By reason of its spiritual nature, the soul enjoys a continuous and connatural union with the world of intelligible reality, which it is able to perceive in a kind of incorporeal light akin to its own nature (in quadam luce sui generis incorporea—Trin. 12.15.24). The soul, however, is not the source of its light but is a derived light (lumen quod illuminatur ) participating in the light of God (Deus intelligibilis lux ). It is the Truth itself, present within, that alone instructs man (Mag. 11.38), so as to exclude learning by any mere human agency (nusquam igitur discere—ibid. 12.40). From the presence of truth in the soul Augustine develops his most characteristic proof for the existence of God as "the unchangeable Truth containing all those things that are unchangeably true" (Lib. arb. 2.12.33). Truth is not so much an object of intellectual contemplation for man as it is a good conferring joy and happiness (gaudium de veritate—Conf. 10.23.33). This doctrine was to oppose the intellectualism of the Aristotelian-Thomistic position in the 13th century. From the primacy of love Augustine distinguished between what must be loved (fruenda ) and what should merely be used (utenda ); he concluded that God alone, as man's true end, is to be loved for His own sake, whereas creatures are to be used only as means toward this good (cf. Doctr. christ. 1.3–5); hence, too, the Augustinian notion of virtue as the right ordering of love (ordo amoris, Civ. 15.22).
Seminal Reasons. Augustine's teaching on the seminal reasons (rationes seminales ), sometimes regarded as a forerunner of modern evolutionary theory, is, essentially, an attempt to reconcile the simultaneity and uniqueness of God's creative act with the progressive appearance of new living things throughout the course of time. According to Augustine's notion of a virtual creation, newly emerging forms of life were already present from the moment of creation, not in their actual state but in a seminal, potential, and causal condition (invisibiliter, potentialiter, causaliter—Gen. ad litt. 5.23.45). Although it would be an exaggeration to deny Augustine a notion of efficient causality in physical nature, it is undeniable that in the Augustinian universe the role of secondary causes is reduced to a relatively minimal status.
Grace. In the realm of moral activity the Augustinian conception of God's sovereignty and man's dependence finds its most profound and perennial expression in the saint's teaching on grace. His doctrines on original sin and on the necessity and gratuity of grace, developed during his extended polemic with Pelagianism and semi-pelagianism, have dominated the whole theology of grace (see pelagius and pelagianism). In a letter to Vitalis of Carthage, c. 427, Augustine formulates in 12 propositions his entire anti-Pelagian teaching on grace and free will, assuring Vitalis that these doctrines "belong to the right and Catholic rule of faith" (Epist. 217.5.16–17). However, Augustine's treatment of certain aspects of these doctrines and his views on predestination seem to have influenced later Augustinians to exalt divine action and minimize the role of created causality.
Origins and Transmission to 13th Century
Although Augustine founded no school or system, properly speaking, even before his death the influence of his thought had won him a position of eminence and authority that remained unique and unchallenged for more than 800 years. In tracing the course of Augustinianism to the 13th century, a review is here made of writers, or compilers, whose familiarity with the Augustinian corpus made them influential vehicles of his thought, and this not only in theology but also in the apostolate of preaching and in the foundation and development of the first Christian schools in the West. Next, mention must be made of several important controversies in which recourse to St. Augustine served to transmit and formalize his teaching.
Compilers. Paul orosius was a friend of Augustine and author of the Liber apologeticus contra Pelagium de arbitrii libertate, written in defense of his own orthodoxy, in which he presented the saint's teaching on the necessity of grace for every salutary and meritorious act. He also composed, at Augustine's suggestion, a compendium of universal history in seven books, Historiarum adversus paganos, which resumed a central thesis of Augustine's City of God, viz, that temporal calamities had afflicted the world long before the advent of Christianity.
Prosper of Aquitaine defended Augustine against attacks by John cassian and the Semi-Pelagians and composed the Book of 392 Sentences, excerpted from works of Augustine. Prosper is important as a faithful exponent of Augustine's teaching. By way of exception, he mitigated Augustine's view on the predestination of reprobates by substituting the notion of a condemnation subsequent to God's foreknowledge of their sins (post praevisa demerita ).
caesarius of arles (470–542) played a dominant role in the condemnation of Semi-Pelagianism by the Council of Orange (529) and in the vindication of Augustine's essential teaching on original sin and on the necessity and absolute gratuity of grace. Besides his treatise De gratia, he composed a rule for monastic foundations that follows closely Augustine's ideas and even his expressions.
fulgentius of ruspe was known in the Middle Ages as Augustinus breviatus because of his brief and concise presentations of Augustine's doctrine. His Manual, modeled after Augustine's Enchiridion, contains an excellent summary of the principal beliefs of faith. He has been called "Augustine of the strict observance" (F. Cayré) because of his rigid interpretations of Augustine's teaching on predestination. He composed three works against Semi-Pelagianism, including one against faustus of riez. In imitation of Augustine's "abecedary" poem against the Donatists (Psalmus contra partem Donati ), Fulgentius wrote a Psalmus abecedarius against the Arians.
The unfinished Complexio in psalmos of cassiodorus is patterned after Augustine's Ennarationes in psalmos. Cassiodorus is best known for his celebrated Institutiones, a detailed program of studies for Christian schools, inspired in large part by Augustine's De doctrina christiana and later developed by alcuin and rabanus maurus.
St. isidore of seville wrote Tres libri sententiarum, the forerunner of similar works in the 12th century, drawn for the most part from Augustine and Gregory the Great. He reproduced, in substance, the prevailing Augustinian theology of the period.
St. anselm of canterbury was one of the most authentic and influential representatives of Augustinianism in the early Middle Ages. He defended such basic Augustinian tenets as ontological truth, divine exemplarism, and divine illumination and preferred the Platonic-Augustinian argument for God's existence from the diverse levels of perfection in nature. In his effort to reconcile divine foreknowledge, predestination, and grace with free will, he emphasized the absolute mastery and sovereignty of God.
hugh of saint-victor was a representative of the school of Saint-Victor, "the school perhaps most directly and intimately inspired by St. Augustine's thought" (Marrou). In keeping with Augustine's principle of interiority, outlined in the Soliloquies, Hugh stressed the necessity of inner experience, not only as the ground of certitude for personal existence but also as valid evidence for the spiritual nature of the soul. He composed an important commentary on the Rule of St. Augustine.
peter lombard, also of the school of Saint-Victor, wrote four books of the Sentences, drawn mainly from the teachings of Augustine, which reproduced copious passages from his works in a systematized presentation. Commentaries on the Sentences continued to appear until the end of the 16th century.
Controversies. The controversies that recurred intermittently within the Church from the 10th to the 12th centuries dealt with the validity of simoniacal ordinations and the related problem of the lawfulness of reordaining, and with the politicotheological doctrines underlying the conflicts between the Church and civil authority. Regarding ordinations, the anti-Donatist writings of Augustine provided the principal source of arguments for defenders of the orthodox position. The validity of the Sacraments, for Augustine, did not depend on the faith of the minister (vs. cyprian) or on his moral dispositions (vs. donatism). Augustine's views gradually prevailed and, with their acceptance by the theologians of the 13th century, secured a permanent place in sacramental theology. Similarly, from various interpretations of such notions as peace, justice, and kingdom, drawn from Augustine's City of God, political theories were formulated for the new Christian society and for resolving the conflicts between papal and imperial claims. It remained, however, for theologians of the Augustinian school, such as Giles of Rome and Augustine of Ancona, to expound a politicotheological theory in support of a theocratic view of papal authority.
Medieval and Scholastic Augustinianism
Although the intellectual influence of Augustine dominated the West until the 13th century, it must be acknowledged, with F. van Steenberghen that "the synthesis achieved by the Bishop of Hippo was wholly theological in character." On the other hand, this theological synthesis had assimilated much of the prevailing neoplatonism of his age and, quite possibly, in an already Christianized form. Because many 13th-century theologians viewed with alarm an aristotelianism that was clearly incompatible with a number of revealed truths, a new Augustinian synthesis began to emerge, containing, besides its theological component, philosophical notions taken from St. Augustine or, at least, reputed to be Augustinian in origin. This resulting doctrinal amalgam, championed mainly within the Franciscan Order, is what has come to be known as medieval or scholastic Augustinianism.
Characteristic Theses. The following summary embodies the more characteristic theses of this intellectual movement: (1) No strict formal distinction between rational and revealed truths, with a denial, at least implicit, of an autonomous philosophy completely independent of theology. (2) A primacy of the will and of the affective powers over the intellectual. (3) A real identity between the essence of the soul and its powers. (4) The soul as a complete substance, composed of spiritual matter and form and therefore individuated by its own principles without reference to the body. (5) Necessity of divine illumination, together with the complementary notion of exemplarism, which makes the divine ideas the guarantee of certitude for the mind. (6) Direct and immediate knowledge of the soul's nature by the soul itself. (7) A universal hylomorphism, embracing all created reality. (8) The doctrine of seminal reasons. (9) A pluralism allowing for several substantial forms in the concrete structure of every created composite (see forms, unicity and plurality of). (10) The impossibility of creation ab aeterno.
Opinions concerning the authenticity of this doctrinal corpus attributed to St. Augustine range from the view that all these theses have a foundation in Augustine (Mariani) to the opposite position, which denies their Augustinian authenticity in toto (Boyer). Accordingly, some historians have rejected the term medieval Augustinianism, preferring instead to describe the movement as early scholasticism, pre-Thomistic school (De Wulf), or eclectic Aristotelianism (Van Steenberghen).
Dominican and Franciscan Proponents. Opposition on the part of medieval Augustinians to Aristotelianism, culminating in the ecclesiastical condemnation of 1277, came from Dominican as well as Franciscan theologians. The Dominicans included Peter of Tarentaise (later innocent v), who denied the possibility of creation ab aeterno and defended the doctrine of seminal reasons, and richard fishacre, who subscribed to such notions as seminal reasons, illumination, and universal hylomorphism. Since the Franciscans were far more numerous, it is convenient to identify them according to the following doctrinal schema:
- Primacy of will: john peckham, roger marston, richard of middleton, and william of ware
- Identity of soul with its powers: alexander of hales, john of la rochelle, John Peckham, and William of Ware
- Illumination: Alexander of Hales, John of La Rochelle, bonaventure, thomas of york, matthew of aquasparta, John Peckham, and Roger Marston
- Universal hylomorphism: Alexander of Hales, Bonaventure, Thomas of York, John Peckham, william de la mare, Roger Marston, and Richard of Middleton (except for four elements)
- Seminal reasons: Bonaventure, Thomas of York, Matthew of Aquasparta, and Roger Marston
- Pluralism (substantial): Thomas of York, William de la Mare, and Roger Marston
- Impossibility of eternal creation: Bonaventure, Thomas of York, Matthew of Aquasparta, John Peckham, William de la Mare, Roger Marston, and Richard of Middleton
The condemnation of 1277, which included several theses of Thomas Aquinas, was followed by a gradual adaptation and fusion of Augustinianism with the main body of scholasticism, both Thomistic and non-Thomistic. Such a doctrinal assimilation was possible because of the eclectic character of these schools and the influence of Aristotelian notions present within the Augustinian synthesis itself.
Within the Augustinian Order. The origin of the Augustinian school is commonly identified with the decree of the general chapter of 1287, which made the works of Giles of Rome, present and future (scripta et scribenda ), mandatory upon all members of his order (see augustinians). Liberal interpretations of the decree were promoted by Giles himself, founder of the school, for whom "our intellect has been made subject, not to the service of man, but to Christ" (De gradibus formarum 2.6). The spirit of independence and adaptation within the school is evident in its relation to Augustinianism and is exemplified by its founder, himself an immediate disciple of Thomas Aquinas.
Foundations and Development. giles of rome followed, in general, the basic metaphysical positions of Aquinas, although he occasionally blended them with Augustinian elements. Thus, while accepting the peripatetic notion of matter and form as a "more complete" explanation for the origin of new substances, he also insisted that the doctrine of seminal reasons is complementary to the hylomorphic thesis rather than opposed to it. The seminal reasons are described as "certain capacities implanted in nature which produce things like themselves" (In 2 sent. 18.2). At first a defender of the plurality of substantial forms, he gradually accepted the Thomistic view of the unicity of the substantial form, even going so far as to brand his former position as contrary to Catholic teaching. In political philosophy he passed from the Aristotelian-Thomistic view of society and civil authority to a doctrine of papal theocracy, based on an interpretation of notions drawn from Augustine's City of God. He retained the Augustinian teaching on the primacy of the will against the intellectualism of St. Thomas, arguing that the "good" is more excellent than the "true" (see voluntarism).
james of viterbo also accepted the voluntarist teaching because, for him, the notion of the "good" derives immediately from the "one" and, being prior to the "true," is thereby superior to it. He assigned to seminal reasons an intermediate place between primary matter— which is pure potency, excluding forms, even in potency—and substantial form itself. He equated seminal reasons with the forms present in potency.
Augustine of Ancona indirectly influenced the wider acceptance of Augustine's teachings within the order by his Milleloquium S. Augustini, the first concordance of the saint's works, which was completed by his pupil Bartholomew of Urbino.
The politicotheological views of Augustine of Ancona are reflected in his famous treatise on papal authority, Summa de potestate ecclesiastica. He went beyond Giles in formulating a strict theocratic conception of the papacy. Alexander of St. Elpidio (d. 1326) also wrote political treatises in defense of papal authority, notably his De potestate ecclesiastica ad Joannem XXII. bartholomew of urbino defended political teachings of the Augustinian school against marsilius of padua and william of ockham.
thomas of strassburg upheld the primacy of the will, adducing, in addition to St. Augustine, the authority of Anselm and Bernard. Alphonsus Vargas maintained a voluntarist position and used the Augustinian argument for God's existence from diverse grades of perfections manifested in the world.
gregory of rimini, despite nominalist tendencies in philosophy, remained faithful to the main body of the theological doctrine of his school. Because of his success in reproducing the theology of Augustine in the language of his own time, he has been called "the true author of Augustinianism in the 14th century."
Council of Trent. The order was represented among the fathers of the Council of trent by four bishops and two generals, assisted by some 50 theologians. Besides Girolamo seripando, who was present successively as prior general, cardinal president, and papal legate, the fathers included Christopher of Padua (1500–69), prior general, and Bps. John Barba of Teramo (d. 1564), Gaspar of Coimbra (1512–84), Juan Suárez of Portugal (d. 1572), and Juan de Muñatones of Segarbe (d. 1571). Seripando was unquestionably the principal spokesman of the Augustinians at Trent; according to H. Jedin, his name is "inseparable from the story of the Decree on original sin and justification."
To understand properly Seripando's teaching on original sin and justification, it is necessary to examine his view on concupiscence, which he describes as the sum total of forces of the lower appetite opposed to the law of God; consequently, something displeasing in His sight and therefore somehow sinful (aliquam pecati rationem ). The impact of this view of concupiscence upon the notion of justification is clear. First, Baptism of itself is insufficient for justification and must be joined with faith in the death and Resurrection of Christ. But concupiscence remains in the baptized and continues somehow to be sinful, not merely as the penal consequence of original sin but also as a dynamic source of personal sins and a positive obstacle to the perfect observation of God's law. Accordingly, the Augustinians tried unsuccessfully to have removed from the decree on justification statements that Baptism removes "whatever has the true and proper character of sin," that in the baptized the "old man is put off," and that "God finds nothing hateful in the reborn."
The same view of concupiscence underlies Seripando's doctrine of "double justice," a critical thesis within his description of the total process of justification (see justice, double). In relating double justice to the mystical body of christ, Seripando was convinced that he was following faithfully the teaching of Augustine himself. And although the Council did not accept his views, his influence was positive as well as negative, since his theory "furnished the occasion for reexamining the fundamental problems of the dogma with unprecedented care" (Jedin, 391).
Modern and Contemporary Augustinianism
This section discusses the revival within the Augustinian school during the 17th and 18th centuries occasioned by controversies growing out of the Protestant and Jansenist theologies, including the theology of grace and its most outstanding representatives of this period, and the later influence of Augustinianism in the 20th century.
17th and 18th Centuries. This period is characterized by (1) a gradual lessening of Thomistic influence; (2) the appearance of numerous tracts composed "ad mentem Aegidii"; and (3) the adaptation and interpretations of St. Augustine's teaching on grace in a manner already delineated by gregory of rimini.
Lesser Figures. Before an outlining of the theology of grace of the so-called Augustinians, viz, Noris, Bellelli, and Berti, mention should be made of the following representatives of the period.
Federico Gavardi (1640–1715), teacher of Henry Noris, was the principal influence in the revival of the Augustinian school. He wrote a voluminous tract, Theologia exantiquata juxta B. Augustini doctrinam ab Aegidio Columna expositam. A compendium of this work, Hecatombe theologica, was written by Anselm Hormannseder (d. 1740). Nicholas Straforelli composed in 1679 a compendium, Theoremata theologica Aegidianae scholae conformia. Agostina Arpe (d. 1704) wrote a manual, Summa totus Aegidii Columnae …ex doctrina eiusdem collecta. Benignus Sichrowski (d. 1737) was a disciple of Gavardi and author of the manual Theologia scholastica Aegidio-Augustiniana. Pedro Manso (d. 1736) wrote philosophical and theological works marked by a return to the teaching of Giles of Rome and Gregory of Rimini. A staunch defender of Noris, he wrote tracts against Jansenist interpretations of St. Augustine, including a masterful treatise, Augustinus sui interpres.
Theology of Grace. Of more significance than the foregoing are those Augustinians of the period who gave distinctive interpretations of St. Augustine's doctrines on grace. Since their teachings evidence a basic doctrinal continuity with the earlier Augustinian school, it is inaccurate to represent them as having founded a "new" school. Their teachings, in fact, occupy an important place in the history of Augustinianism.
The writings of Henry noris aim at refuting the Protestant and Jansenistic interpretations of Augustine by an authentic presentation of his teaching accommodated to the doctrinal demands of the period. They include Historia Pelagiana, Dissertati de Synodo V Oecumenica, and Vindiciae Augustinianae. Later, Fulgentius Bellelli (1675–1742), a general of the order, wrote two important polemical works against baius and jansen, dealing with the states of man before and after the fall respectively: Mens Augustini de statu naturae rationalis ante peceatum … and Mens Augustini de modo reparationis humanae naturae Post lapsum. Finally, Lorenzo berti composed a theological compendium in six volumes, De theologicis disciplinis, described by M. Grabmann as "the best manual of the school."
The more characteristic doctrines of these theologians may be reduced to the following: First, the entire economy of grace rests on a concrete and historical conception of man before and after the Fall rather than on any purely metaphysical or abstract consideration of man's nature. In fact, the denial of a state of pure nature is a capital and decisive doctrine in this theology of grace. Having distinguished between God's absolute and ordered power, they maintain that while such a state of pure nature is possible according to God's absolute power, it is impossible by reason of His ordered power, i.e., viewed in the light of His goodness or wisdom, or from a certain fittingness on His part (ex decentia Creatoris ). Consequently, the gifts of immortality, knowledge, and even sanctifying grace itself were conferred on Adam not as strictly owing to his nature, but as called for by God's goodness (ex decentia bonitatis suae ). Hence, man's fallen state is envisaged as the loss of all those qualities given him ex decentia Creatoris, leaving him, as Noris put it, "despoiled of the gratuitous gifts and impaired in his natural endowments" (expoliatus gratuitis et laesus insuper in naturalibus ). The latter privation accounts for concupiscence, which, for these theologians, is meaningless apart from original sin. Again, the distinction between the "innocent" and "fallen" states explains the two kinds of grace conferred respectively, namely, "in-different grace" (gratia versatilis ) and "efficacious grace" (gratia efficax ). In the state of innocence, man's will was able to determine itself either for good or evil, whereas, since the Fall, it lacks sufficient power to do the good and must be determined by efficacious grace. Similarly, before the Fall, predestination to glory (and reprobation) was subsequent to God's foreknowledge of man's merits (post praevisa merita ). To explain the nature of efficacious grace, Augustinians adduced the notion of a delectatio victrix, a doctrine developed by St. Augustine that had been interpreted by Jansenists to support their theology of grace. For Noris and his followers, the role of this delectatio is described as follows: the human will is beset by two opposing forces, or attractions, grace (charity) and cupidity. Since, in his fallen state, man's will follows the stronger attraction, it is only when grace is the more powerful that it efficaciously produces its effect. Yet as Berti insists, the will responds to this attraction not from necessity, but with complete freedom (liberima voluntate ). Otherwise, grace remains inefficacious and, as Augustine had pointed out, leaves the will weak, parva, and feeble, invalida (Grat. et lib. arb. 17). Again, though admitting the salvific will of God, Augustinians claimed that sufficient grace is not bestowed on all, as evidenced, e.g., in infants who die without Baptism and pagans unenlightened by the Christian revelation.
A final feature of this theology of grace is its somewhat rigorous teaching on the role of charity in human acts. Since the precept to love God obliges at all times (semper et pro semper ), these theologians maintain that man's every act must be directed to God, either actually or, at least, by a virtual intention. Further, man is bound to love God above all things not only appretiative, i.e., in preference to everything else, but also intensive, with a maximum intensity of love.
Contemporary Influence. Although Augustine founded no school, properly speaking, he remains in the 20th century a source and inspiration for many and diversified currents of thought. In general, these represent reactions to earlier mechanistic and materialistic systems, as well as to schools of rationalism and idealism. Contemporary thinkers whose orientation reveals certain affinities to, or dependence on, the doctrines and spirit of Augustine include Bergson, Scheler, Lavelle, Sciacca, Carlini, Kierkegaard, and Jaspers.
Bergson. The insistence of Henri bergson on the primacy of a concrete apprehension of reality, his preference for intuitive cognition and the method of "interiority," and his theory of intuition of duration reveal striking analogies with corresponding doctrines in Augustine. However, in view of Bergson's disavowal of any conscious Augustinian influence, such similarities can, at best, be ascribed to a common source, viz, Plotinianism, with which Bergson was well acquainted.
Scheler. No philosopher of the 20th century professed so great a dependence on Augustine as Max scheler, who regarded Augustine as the true founder and sole representative of Christian philosophy. Augustine alone produced, though only tentatively, a philosophy directly inspired by the Christian "living-experience" (Erlebnis ). In Scheler's view, other thinkers, e.g., Aquinas, merely gave a Christian coloring to preexisting forms of Greek philosophy. Scheler undertook to correct Augustine's imperfect realization of this ideal by the complete removal of all Neoplatonic vestiges, with the help of later Augustinians such as N. malebranche, B. pascal, J. H. newman, and A. gratry. The primacy of love, prior even to the will, is the focal point in Scheler's attempt to reconstruct Augustine's thought, replacing Neoplatonism with modern phenomenology and its Wesenerfarung. However, Scheler's highly personal interpretations of Augustine, as well as his later tendency toward pantheism, raised serious doubts concerning the validity of his professed Augustinianism.
Lavelle. The spiritualistic philosophy of Louis la velle reflects certain characteristic positions of Augustine, although the influence is mainly indirect, stemming from the writings of Malebranche. The influence of Augustine is discernible in Lavelle's point of departure, his basic scope of philosophy, and his analysis of time. His notions of présence total and expérience métaphysique fondamentale, as primordial intuitions, recall the twofold object of speculation, God and the soul, outlined in Augustine's early dialogue On Order and the Soliloquies. In Augustinian fashion, Lavelle attempts to elaborate his whole philosophy by the "dialectic of participation"; but whereas Augustine is always careful to safeguard the divine transcendence, Lavelle's language, if not his thought, lends itself possibly to pantheistic interpretations.
Sciacca. M. F. Sciacca is an exponent of the Italian "philosophy of the spirit." For him, Augustine's doctrine of divine illumination is the central problem of metaphysics, revealing the essential dependence of man's spiritual nature on God, whose transcendent and necessary existence is the absolute source of certitude. Consequently, the certitude of personal existence follows from the intuition of truth ultimately identified with God in a manner reminiscent of Augustine's dictum: "I could more easily doubt my own existence than that Truth exists" (Conf. 7.10.6).
Carlini. Armando Carlini, also of the Italian spiritualist school, evidences even more of Augustine's influence. For Carlini, the central and crucial problem for philosophy is the nature and destiny of the human person; any solution must follow Augustine's method of introspection and interiority. But since philosophy can do no more than discover and formulate this problem, man must turn to faith, specifically the Catholic faith, which alone can satisfy the demands of reason.
Kierkegaard. Since existentialist philosophers recognize the influence of S. A. kierkegaard in the development of their movement, it is important to consider Augustine's influence on him. He possessed the complete works of Augustine and regarded him as the one writer who used the "dialectic of existence" to solve the problem of human existence by recourse to faith rather than to reason. The conflict between the abstract religion of reason and that of faith and the eventual triumph of the latter have, according to Kierkegaard, been dramatically portrayed in the Confessions, in the case of Augustine himself, and in The City of God, with respect to the human race as a whole.
Jaspers. While existentialists such as M. heidegger, G. marcel, and J. P. sartre show a certain affinity with Augustinianism by their concentration on the problem of human existence, only K. jaspers reveals any real dependence on Augustine (see existentialism). His insistence, for example, on the necessity of faith to discover reality itself, including one's personal existence and God, since reason cannot reach beyond phenomena, derives from his understanding of Augustine's injunction credo ut intelligam. And though he calls Augustine the founder of true philosophy, Jaspers contends that this philosophy, being specifically Christian and tentative, must be transformed and perfected by an inner and "fundamental revelation" to achieve a philosophy of absolute validity and value.
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[r. p. russell]
"Augustinianism." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 12, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/augustinianism
"Augustinianism." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved September 12, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/augustinianism