The vocation of eloquence thesis

Purpose of his Commonitory A. Vincent explains his purpose for writing it. Having attained time for studying and writing after entering the monastery, and having discerned the need of the time in which he lived, he set out to record what his forefathers in the faith had handed down to him and his fellow Catholics, and committed to their keeping.

The vocation of eloquence thesis

Augustinism in History His function as a doctor of the Church When the critics endeavour to determine Augustine's place in the history of the Church and of civilization, there can be no question of exterior or political influence, such as was exercised by St.

Gregoryor St. If Augustine occupies a place apart in the history of humanity, it is as a thinker, his influence being felt even outside the realm of theologyand playing a most potent part in the orientation of Western thought. It is now universally conceded that, in the intellectual field, this influence is unrivalled even by that of Thomas Aquinasand Augustine's teaching marks a distinct epoch in the history of Christian thought.

The better to emphasize this important fact we shall try to determine: The greatest of the doctors It is first of all a remarkable fact that the great critics, Protestant as well as Catholic The vocation of eloquence thesis, are almost unanimous in placing St.

Augustine in the foremost rank of Doctors and proclaiming him to be the greatest of the Fathers. Such, indeed, was also the opinion of his contemporaries, judging from their expressions of enthusiasm gathered by the Bollandists. The popes attributed such exceptional authority to the Doctor of Hippo that, even of late years, it has given rise to lively theological controversies.

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Peter the Venerable accurately summarized the general sentiment of the Middle Ages when he ranked Augustine immediately after the Apostles; and in modern times Bossuetwhose genius was most like that of Augustineassigns him the first place among the Doctors, nor does he simply call him the incomparable Augustine," but "the Eagle of Doctors," "the Doctor of Doctors.

More than this, it would seem as if they had in these latter days been quite specially fascinated by the great figure of Augustineso deeply and so assiduously have they studied him Bindemann, Schaff, Dorner, Reuter, A.

Harnack, Eucken, Scheel, and so on and all of them agree more or less with Harnack when he says: According to Bindemann, "Augustine is a star of extraordinary brilliancy in the firmament of the Church. Since the apostles he has been unsurpassed. Kurtz calls Augustine "the greatest, the most powerful of all the Fathers, him from whom proceeds all the doctrinal and ecclesiastical development of the West, and to whom each recurring crisis, each new orientation of thought brings it back.

The vocation of eloquence thesis

Cunningham, is no less appreciative of the extent and perpetuity of this extraordinary influence: Nor does his influence end with the decline of medievalism: Augustine was at the bottom of all the struggles between Jansenists and Catholics in the Church of Francebetween Arminians and Calvinists on the side of the Reformershe adds: Pusey's edition of the Confessions was among the first-fruits of the Oxford Movement.

He has studied Augustine's place in the history of the world as reformer of Christian piety and his influence as Doctor of the Church.

His system of grace

In his study of the "Confessions" he comes back to it: First of all, in his writings the great bishop collects and condenses the intellectual treasures of the old world and transmits them to the new. Harnack goes so far as to say: In philosophy he was initiated into the whole content and all the subtilties of the various schoolswithout, however, giving his allegiance to any one of them.

In theology it was he who acquainted the Latin Church with the great dogmatic work accomplished in the East during the fourth century and at the beginning of the fifth; he popularized the results of it by giving them the more exact and precise form of the Latin genius.

To synthesis of the past, Augustine adds the incomparable wealth of his own thought, and he may be said to have been the most powerful instrument of Providence in development and advance of dogma. Here the danger has been not in denying, but in exaggerating, this advance.

Augustine's dogmatic mission in a lower sphere and apart from inspiration recalls that of Paul in the preaching of the Gospel. It has also been subject to the same attacks and occasioned the same vagaries of criticism. These fantasies do not survive the reading of the texts, and Harnack himself shows in Augustine the heir to the tradition that preceded him.

Still, on the other hand, his share of invention and originality in the development of dogma must not be ignored, although here and there, on special questions, human weaknesses crop out.

In general, all Christian dogmatics are indebted to him for new theories that better justify and explain revelation, new views, and greater clearness and precision.

The many struggles with which he was identified, together with the speculative turn of his mind, brought almost every question within the scope of his research.

Even his way of stating problems so left his impress upon them that there Is no problem, one might almost say, in considering which the theologian does not feel the study of Augustine's thought to be an imperative obligation.

Certain dogmas in particular he so amply developed, so skilfully unsheathing the fruitful germ of the truths from their envelope of tradition, that many of these dogmas wrongly, in our opinion have been set down as "Augustinism. They are chiefly the dogmas of the Fall, the Atonement, Grace, and Predestination.

Lastly, the very idiosyncrasy of his genius and the practical, supernaturaland Divine imprint left upon all his intellectual speculations have made him the Doctor of Charity.WITH ITS $80 MILLION HEADQUARTERS ON CAPITOL HILL and staff of , the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a force no politician wishes to oppose.

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The better to understand St. Augustine's influence, we must point out in his doctrine certain general characteristics which must not be lost sight of, if, in reading his works, one would avoid troublesome misapprehensions.

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