In Tarmo Toom (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Augustine's Confessions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 154-174 (2020)
AbstractAugustine’s accounts of his so-called mystical experiences in conf. 7.10.16, 17.23, and 9.10.24 are puzzling. The primary problem is that, although in all three accounts he claims to have seen “that which is,” we have no satisfactory account of what “that which is” is supposed to be. I shall be arguing that, contrary to a common interpretation, Augustine’s intellectual “seeing” of “being” in Books 7 and 9 was not a vision of the Christian God as a whole, nor of one of the divine persons, each of whom is equally God, according to Augustine. This becomes clear when we attend to the fact that Augustine is appropriating a specific meaning of “that which is” or “being” used by Plotinus in his account of the lover of Beauty. This resolution, however, leads to a second question. Is there anything distinctively Christian about any, or all, of Augustine’s ascents? On the one hand, it would be odd if there were not, given that the Confessions are addressed to the Christian God. On the other hand, upon close inspection we find that the allegedly specific “Christian” characteristics that modern commentators have identified in the ascents of conf. 7 and 9 also occur in the Neoplatonists. I will argue that there is in fact one important difference between Augustine and the Neoplatonists here that has not been pointed out in these prior interpretations.
Similar books and articles
Augustine’s Use of Neoplatonism in Confessions VII: A Response to Peter King.Michael Gorman - 2005 - Modern Schoolman 82 (3):227-233.
Augustine’s Paradigm ’ab exterioribus ad interiora, ab inferioribus ad superiora’ in the Western and Eastern Christian Mysticism.Fokin Alexey - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 7 (2):81--107.
Plotin Et L'Occident: Firmicus Maternus, Marius Victorinus, Saint Augustin Et Macrobe.Paul Henry - 1934 - "Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense" Bureaux.
Idolatrous Friendship in Augustine’s Confessions.Kyle Hubbard - 2016 - Philosophy and Theology 28 (1):43-57.
Spiritual Exercise in the Proem to Augustine’s Confessions.Mateusz Stróżyński - 2018 - Augustinian Studies 49 (2):221-245.
Augustine's Intellectual Conversion: The Journey From Platonism to Christianity.Brian Dobell - 2009 - Cambridge University Press.
Augustine's Intellectual Conversion: The Journey from Platonism to Christianity.Thomas Williams - 2011 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2011.
The Conversion and Therapy of Desire: Augustine's Theology of Desire in the Cassiciacum Dialogues.Mark J. Boone - 2010 - Eugene, OR: Pickwick.
Augustine’s Ostia Revisited: a Plotinian or Christian Ascent in Confessiones 9?Anthony Dupont & Mateusz Stróżyński - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 79 (1-2):80-104.
Augustine's Invention of the Inner Self: The Legacy of a Christian Platonist.Phillip Cary - 2000 - Oup Usa.
Encounters with God in Augustine's Confessions: Books VII-IX. [REVIEW]S. J. David Vincent Meconi - 2005 - Review of Metaphysics 59 (1):205-206.
Augustine and the Greek Philosophers. [REVIEW]D. T. W. - 1969 - Review of Metaphysics 22 (4):748-749.
Self-Knowledge and God as Other in Augustine.Wayne J. Hankey - 1999 - Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch Fur Antike Und Mittelalter 4 (1):83-123.
Friendship and Happiness: Why Matter Matters in Augustine's Confessions.Ann A. Pang-White - 2011 - In Richard C. Taylor David Twetten & Michael Wreen (eds.), Tolle Lege: Essays on Augustine & on Medieval Philosophy in Honor of Roland J. Teske. Marquette University Press. pp. 175-195.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Citations of this work
No citations found.
References found in this work
"Augustine and the Philosophers".Sarah Byers - 2012 - In Mark Vessey (ed.), A Companion to Augustine. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 175-187.
The divine nature.Scott MacDonald - 2001 - In Eleonore Stump & Norman Kretzmann (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Augustine. Cambridge University Press. pp. 71--90.