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Hermeneutics and the Church

In Dialogue with Augustine

James A. Andrews

Publication Year: 2012

In Hermeneutics and the Church, James A. Andrews presents a close reading of De doctrina christiana as a whole and places Augustine's text into dialogue with contemporary theological hermeneutics. The dialogical nature of the exercise allows Augustine to remain a living voice in contemporary debates about the use of theology in biblical interpretation. In particular, Andrews puts Augustine's hermeneutical treatise into dialogue with the theologians Werner Jeanrond and Stephen Fowl. Andrews argues on the basis of De doctrina christiana that the paradigm for theological interpretation is the sermon and that its end is to engender the double love of God and neighbor. With the sermon as the paradigm of interpretation, Hermeneutics and the Church offers practical conclusions for future work in historical theology and biblical interpretation. For Augustine scholars, Andrews offers a reading of De doctrina that takes seriously the entirety of the work and allows Augustine to speak consistently through words written at the beginning and end of his bishopric. For theologians, this book provides a model of how to engage theologically with the past, and, more than that, it offers the actual fruits of such an engagement: suggestions for the discipline of theological hermeneutics and the practice of scriptural interpretation.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

This book has taken some five years to finish, but the questions behind it have concerned me for much longer. In my first homiletics course, I could not figure out how to bridge the gap between the biblical exegesis I had learned and the sermon I had to preach on Acts 22:3–11. Only after writing...


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pp. xiii

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pp. 1-12

Scriptural interpretation is an enduring concern of the church and will remain so until the eschaton. There is no shortage of methodologies on offer and, for that reason, it might seem out of place for another book to be written that argues for a certain form of appropriate interpretive practice. Likewise...

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1 Augustine’s De doctrina christiana

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pp. 13-42

If, as the introduction argued, the goal is to allow Augustine to be an active dialogue partner with contemporary theology, a good way to allow him a say—to allow him to be a voice from outside—is to allow him to set the parameters of the discussion. It has already been decided, on the...

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2 De doctrina christiana

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pp. 43-70

De doctrina was important for the young Augustine: he seems to have released the first two books before he finished the work. The older Augustine, moreover, felt compelled to complete it. This demonstrates that the work is an entirety and that he did not mean for it to be split into two. If the...

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3 Theological Hermeneutics

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pp. 71-116

An initial problem confronts the contemporary theologian who wants to make use of De doctrina christiana as a hermeneutical text: on one hand, it looks similar to hermeneutical treatises written today—it contains philosophical concepts, discussions about the text and the reader...

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4 Community, Hermeneutics, Rhetoric

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pp. 117-158

While it has been established that Augustine’s hermeneutics, as espoused in De doctrina christiana, is what I have labeled an a posteriori theological hermeneutics, it remains to be seen just what ongoing interpretive practices inform De doctrina, that is, what communal location he presupposes...

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5 De doctrina christiana and the Theological Interpretation of Scripture

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pp. 159-208

The preceding discussion regarding the presupposed communal context of means that Augustine can now be placed in dialogue with a contemporary theologian who presupposes a similar communal context, who, in other words, has an a posteriori hermeneutics. In a recent work...

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pp. 209-232

The previous chapters have allowed Augustine to be a living voice in dialogue with contemporary theological hermeneutics. During the course of the investigation, a number of points were highlighted, both with respect to..


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pp. 233-274


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pp. 275-297

Index of Ancient Texts

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pp. 298-300

Index of Names and Subjects

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pp. 301-303

E-ISBN-13: 9780268074753
E-ISBN-10: 0268074755
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268020415
Print-ISBN-10: 0268020418

Page Count: 312
Illustrations: NA
Publication Year: 2012