The doxological self trinity and volition in the thought of St. Augustine and problem of its reception

Hanby, Robert Michael, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Milbank, John, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Hauerwas, Stanley, University of Virginia
Wilken, Robert, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Mathewes, Charles, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

This thesis produces an account of the thought of St. Augustine in which the trinitarian theology and christology of De Trinitate and the concomitant understanding of creatio ex nihilo are the ontological context for key elements of Augustine's thought and life: his theory of will and the soul, his doctrine of grace and his critique of pagan virtue. Each finally derives its intelligibility from the gift which is its origin and the goal toward which it aims, participation in the love between the Father and the Son through Christ, in whose Body creation is restored.

Arguing that this marks a significant advance in Western theology, the. essay contests the contemporary claims that Augustine anticipates Descartes' res cogitans and that Descartes is a legitimate Augustinian. It does this in several ways. First, it develops Augustine's account in contrast to the Stoic ethics critiqued in De Civitate Dei and the Stoic presuppositions of the Pelagians and so-called semi-Pelagians. It contends that these presuppositions, which derive their original intelligibility from Stoic immanentism and monism, cannot coexist with Augustine's trinitarian ontology and his account of christological mediation, and it argues further that the encounter with these schools had an ironic 'stoicizing effect' on the transmission of Augustinian thought in the West. Secondly, it demonstrates Descartes' historical and conceptual dependence upon this anti-Augustinian Stoicism. Finally it argues that the deleterious effects often associated with Cartesianism--such as the nihilation of extra-mental reality by the will of the cogito--result as a consequence of Descartes' rupture of the Augustinian ontology and its economy of creation, not as the logical conclusion of this ontology.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: