By John M. Rist
Augustine demonstrated an ethical framework that ruled Western tradition for greater than 1000 years. His partially fallacious presentation of a few of its key options (love, will and freedom), in spite of the fact that, triggered next thinkers to try to fix this framework, and their efforts usually annoyed the very difficulties they meant to resolve. over the years, dissatisfaction with a less than perfect Augustinian theology gave option to more and more secular and at last impersonal ethical platforms. This quantity lines the distortion of Augustine's inspiration from the 12th century to the current and examines its consequent reconstructions. John M. Rist argues that smooth philosophies may be well-known as providing no compelling solutions to questions about the human and as top unavoidably to conventionalism or nihilism. which will stay away from this finish, he proposes a go back to an up to date Augustinian Christianity. crucial analyzing for somebody attracted to Augustine and his impression, Augustine Deformed revitalizes his unique notion of affection, will and freedom.
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Additional resources for Augustine Deformed: Love, Sin and Freedom in the Western Moral Tradition
Plato’s account of freedom depends ultimately not on what we will but on what we love. His theory is simple and challenging,3 and despite inadequate revivals from time to time – with Marsilio Ficino, for example, in Renaissance Italy or the Cambridge Platonists in the seventeenth century, let alone with the Romantics – it was largely and increasingly ignored in its essentials after the end of antiquity4 when Augustine’s awareness of its huge importance was gradually pared away, not least as a result of attempts to make his thought more systematic as well as more prudish.
But when he is ignorant either of the Greek language or that the Latin word he meets or uses is a term of art representing a Greek concept, the results can be significant and disastrous as he interprets the reality to which the term refers in a new and partly mistaken manner. Awe-ful Augustine 31 Thus as we enquire into Augustine’s understanding of voluntas we do well, as I have observed elsewhere, to ask how his title De libero arbitrio voluntatis would appear in Greek. The answer would be Peri tes autexousias tes proaireseos,2 which serves to locate the philosophical context of the word voluntas, for in Stoic texts, especially in Epictetus, the word prohairesis signifies man’s moral self, man as a moral agent.
No translation can be exact, and so long as a Latin speaker remains aware of the sense of a word in its Greek original, so that he recognizes Latin terms as more or less tokens of the Greek, little harm is done. But when he is ignorant either of the Greek language or that the Latin word he meets or uses is a term of art representing a Greek concept, the results can be significant and disastrous as he interprets the reality to which the term refers in a new and partly mistaken manner. Awe-ful Augustine 31 Thus as we enquire into Augustine’s understanding of voluntas we do well, as I have observed elsewhere, to ask how his title De libero arbitrio voluntatis would appear in Greek.