Authoritative Ideas in Augustine “The Creation and Fall of Man”
Status of Scripture • Ultimate arbiter of truth, but how do we interpret it? • “And this Wisdom, entering into holy souls, makes of them friends and prophets of God and reveals to them, silently and interiorly, what God has done” (18). • Sources of knowledge: 1. Revelation (Bible, true visions); 2. Textual Authority (like Augustine, ancient philosophy); 3. Experience (including senses) • Multiple levels of interpretation: • literal/historical • symbolic/allegorical
Freedom of the will • Human fate (salvation or damnation) is not pre-determined because we choose dis/obedience, and are rewarded or punished as the case may be. • Medieval Catholicism: we can performs actions that will purify our souls and earn merit towards salvation (e.g., charity, penance).
Ontological Hierarchy • Ontology = theory of being • God’s dominion over the created order: a place for everything and everything in its place. • Also known as the Great Chain of Being…
Body/soul dualism • Mortal body, immortal soul • Animal body, divine soul • Sins of the flesh (lechery, gluttony, avarice/covetousness/greed) versus sins of the spirit (pride, envy, wrath, sloth/accedia) • Symbol and word, “spirit” and “letter,” revelation and law, “chaff” and “wheat”