The Teacher: The Free Choice of the Will. Grace and Free Will

The Teacher: The Free Choice of the Will. Grace and Free Will

The Teacher: The Free Choice of the Will. Grace and Free Will

The Teacher: The Free Choice of the Will. Grace and Free Will

Excerpt

The short but highly significant work, entitled The Teacher, is next to the last in a series of Dialogues begun at Cassiciacum, near Milan, where Augustine had gone in the autumn of 386 to prepare for baptism. The present Dialogue reproduces, at least in substance, discussions held with his son shortly after their return to Tagaste in 388 and is the only one in which Adeodatus is the sole interlocutor. In The Confessions Augustine describes the origin of the work as follows: "There is a book of mine called The Teacher in which Adeodatus himself converses with me. You know, O God, that all the thoughts expressed there as coming from the second party to the Dialogue are his own, though he was only sixteen years old." The actual composition of the work, which may have been intended as a literary memorial to this precocious young man, is commonly assigned to the year 389, not long after the premature death of Adeodatus.

The central theme of the Dialogue is succinctly stated in the Retractations, a chronological review of the Saint's works, exclusive of Sermons and Letters, composed between 426 and 427. "During this same period," he writes, "I composed a book called The Teacher where, after some discussion and inquiry, we find that it is God alone who teaches men knowledge, all of which is also in accord with what is written in the Gospel: 'One is your teacher, Christ.' " Although the focal . . .

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