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Book: Augustine: His Thought in Context
Author: T. Kermit Scott
Paulist Press, NY, pp.253

Excerpt from Jacket:

In Augustine: His Thought in Context, author T. Kermit Scott develops a readable and comprehensive portrait of Augustine of Hippo and his times within a three-stage survey.

Part One summarizes some of the social, political, and economic conditions of the Roman Empire in the fourth and fifth centuries, the various forms of religious consciousness that accompanied them, and Augustine's shrewd analysis of each.

Part Two surveys the Bishop of Hippo's life and intellectual development through the time of his ordination and closely examines his teaching on the nature of God, which eventually became the basis of all his theology.

Part Three focuses on the growth of Augustine's systematic theology and critiques some of its central elements.

Excerpt from Book:

He still had no answer to the question of why an omnipotent and perfectly good god would create or even allow evil in his creation. Still under the sway of the Manichaean myth, he thought again of his god as an infinite being of light that fills all things.

"Behold God and behold what God has created! God is good. Most mightily and most immeasurably does he surpass these things. But being good, he has created good things. Behold how he encircles and fills all things! Where then is evil, and whence and by what means has it crept in here? What is its root, and what is its seed? . . . Whence, therefore, is evil, since God the good has made all these things good? He, the greater, the supreme good, has made these lesser goods, yet both creator and all created things are good. Whence comes evil? Was there a certain evil matter, out of which he made these things? Did he form and fashion it, but yet leave within it something that he would not convert into good? Why would he do this? Was he powerless to turn and change all ths matter, so that no evil would remain in it, even though he is all-powerful? Lastly, why should he will to make anything at all out of it, and not rather by that same omnipotence cause that it should not exist at all? Or forsooth, did it have the power to exist against his will?

Table of Contents:

Citation of Augustine's Works

Part One: Augustine's World
1. The prevalence of belief
2. The material conditions of belief
3. The ideological landscape

Part Two: The Search For God
1. The original myth
2. The Manichaean myth
3. The Plotinian myth
4. From the Plotinian myth to the Imperial myth
5. The Imperial myth

Part Three: Augustinianism
1. Free choice of the will
2. The problem of Divine Foreknowledge
3. The doctrine of predestination
a. The scriptural basis of predestination
b. Derivation of the doctrine from basis beliefs
c. Confirmation of the doctrine by an analysis of choosing
4. The doctrine of Original Sin
5. The Fall