St. Augustine's Confessions: The Odyssey of Soul

St. Augustine's Confessions: The Odyssey of Soul

St. Augustine's Confessions: The Odyssey of Soul

St. Augustine's Confessions: The Odyssey of Soul

Synopsis

¿Anyone proposing another general field theory of the Confessions will have a major task being both as economical and as comprehensive as O'Connell is.¿ -Church History

Excerpt

Twenty years ago, when this study was first published, I put my readers on notice that they were opening the pages of a "thesis" book. I should have expressed myself more accurately, and used the term "hypothesis," rather than thesis. For, as I went on to explain, my intention was to examine whether the "thesis" I had earlier argued for in St. Augustine's Early Theory of Man: A.D. 386-391 would stand up as a valid working hypothesis to illuminate the thought of the Confessions.

My chief reason for adopting that hypothetical stance was this: I was fully as impressed as were most of my colleagues in Augustinian research by the consensus prevailing at that time, that the mature bishop of Hippo eventually, came to jettison whatever earlier conviction he may have had that our most authentic selves were "fallen souls." Such a conviction might be understandable, perhaps, in a recent convert fired with enthusiasm for Neo-Platonic philosophy; but it must soon have been brought to Augustine's attention (so I assumed, and others apparently assumed along with me) that the notorious Origen had long ago proposed a similar view of humanity, and that his view had since been repudiated. Hence it came, even to me, as an unsettling surprise that the Confessions seemed to make such unified sense when explicated in the light of "fallen-soul" theory.

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