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Freedom and Necessity

St. Augustine's Teaching on Divine Power and Human Freedom

Gerald Bonner

Publication Year: 2011

This book seeks to explain this paradox in Augustine's theology by tracing how these different emphases arose in his thought, and speculating as to why he endorsed, in the end, his theology of predestination. T

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-v


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pp. vi-vii


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pp. ix-x

Abbreviations and Sources

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pp. xi-xii

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pp. 1-15

this book grew out of a course of four lectures which I was due to give at the University of Malta in 2001. My intention was once more to examine the predestinarian theology which Augustine expressed and defended in the course of the Pelagian Controversy, and to consider ...

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1. The Problem

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pp. 17-33

Few student s of Augustine’s thought will be disposed to deny the harshness of the predestinarian teaching of the last twenty years of his life. From the composition of the De Peccatorum Meritis et Remissione in 411–12 to that of the De Praedestinatione Sanctorum in 429, Augustine’s assertion ...

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2. The Evidence

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pp. 34-48

Augustine of Hippo may be regarded as a major writer, not only in a qualitative, but in a quantitative sense. To look upon his collected works with a view to reading them is an awe-inspiring experience; to realize that he not merely read, but actually wrote them, is overwhelming, the ...

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3. The Nature of Freedom in the Mind of Augustine

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pp. 49-65

Freedom may be understo od as the absence of constraint, the capacity to follow one’s own desires and inclinations without hindrance. In the human animal, a being endowed with reasoning powers, freedom increases with maturity and is, indeed, a sign of maturity. A child, ...

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4. Freedom and Responsibility

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pp. 66-80

A puppet cannot be held responsible for its actions, nor can a man who, by reason of mental incapacity, has no control over his will. To be fully human, one needs to possess a will and be able to command it. In everyday life we expect this of our fellows; indeed, if we could not, the ...

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5. Augustine ’s Final Theology of Freedom

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pp. 81-96

At the end of his life, when his relentless insistence on divine predestination had led to the accusation that he had reduced human freedom to a cipher, Augustine continued to maintain freedom of choice by the elect, despite the vital necessity of grace to enable them to exercise ...

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6. Divine Predestination and Jesus Christ

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pp. 97-117

The more that one considers Augustine’s theories of man’s Fall and Redemption, the more difficult it becomes to understand how the various elements hold together, logically and theologically. Salvation is extended to only a tiny minority of the human race,1 while the overwhelming ...

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7. Conclusion

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pp. 118-132

The doctrines which Augustine asserted against the Pelagians were formulated long before the controversy began. There is no good reason to doubt his assertion of the decisive effect upon him of the intellectual illumination which occurred when he was writing to Simplicianus ...

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pp. 133-137


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pp. 139-142

Production Notes

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pp. 143-143

E-ISBN-13: 9780813215877
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813214740

Page Count: 158
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 503444669
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Freedom and Necessity

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Subject Headings

  • Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo.
  • Grace (Theology) -- History of doctrines -- Early church, ca. 30-600.
  • Free will and determinism -- Religious aspects -- Christianity -- History of doctrines -- Early church, ca. 30-600.
  • Predestination -- History of doctrines -- Early church, ca. 30-600.
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