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Augustine for the Philosophers

The Rhetor of Hippo, the Confessions, and the Continentals

Calvin L. Troup

Publication Year: 2014

St. Augustine of Hippo, largely considered the greatest thinker of Christian antiquity, has long dominated theological conversations. Augustine’s legacy as a theologian endures. However, Augustine’s contributions to rhetoric and the philosophy of communication remain relatively uncharted. Augustine for the Philosophers recovers these contributions, revisiting Augustine's prominence in the work of continental philosophers who shaped rhetoric and the philosophy of communication in the twentieth century. Hannah Arendt, Albert Camus, Jacques Ellul, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Jean-François Lyotard, and Paul Ricoeur are paired with Augustine in significant conversations close to the center of their work. Augustine for the Philosophers dares to hold Augustine’s rhetoric and philosophy in dynamic tension with his Christianity, provoking serious reconsideration of Augustine, his presence in twentieth-century continental thought, and his influence upon modern rhetoric and communication studies.

Published by: Baylor University Press

Series: Studies in Rhetoric and Religion

Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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Calvin L. Troup

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pp. ix-xvi

Saint Augustine is an original thinker and contributor to rhetoric and philosophy of communication.1 nevertheless, even after the resurgence of rhetorical studies in the past century—particularly in the second half of the past century—Augustine’s contributions remain mostly uncharted. This book is part of a larger project dedicated to rehabilitating Augustine and bringing to...

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pp. xvii-xviii

Never argue for the supposed influence of one thinker upon another, my advisor warned me when i was a young scholar. it was good advice that provoked not a few initial misgivings about this project; that is, until i read the texts of the continental philosophers considered in this volume. The thorough, direct engagement of Augustine by twentieth-century continental...

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1. The Confessions and the Continentals

Calvin L. Troup

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pp. 1-16

Saint Augustine, fifth-century bishop of Hippo Regius in Roman north Africa, sanctions the resurgence of rhetoric and philosophy of communication that began in the mid-twentieth century. He is an intellectual catalyst for many continental philosophers whose ideas have been formative in contemporary rhetoric and philosophy of communication, yet many working...

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2. Augustine and Heidegger on Acknowledging the Importance of Acknowledgment and the Orator’s Art

Michael J. Hyde

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pp. 17-38

Saint Augustine’s Confessions tells the story of how its author, struggling with his “restless heart,” heard and responded to God’s call. The work, to be sure, is a religious touchstone for the act of acknowledgment. (The word “confess” is from the Latin confiteri, meaning “to acknowledge.”) Martin Heidegger was also influenced by this text; it played a role in his phenomenological...

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3. Arendt and Saint Augustine: Identity Otherwise Than Convention

Ronald C. Arnett

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pp. 39-58

The danger of thoughtless conformity in the social realm propelled Arendt’s scholarly project. This is the reason Arendt’s dissertation on Saint Augustine, published as Love and Saint Augustine, stressed the importance of “distance.” Arendt continued this theme in multiple works, including The Human Condition, in which she argues that the social realm obliterates distance...

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4. Lyotard’s Augustine

David J. Depew

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pp. 59-76

Jean-François Lyotard’s The Confession of Augustine derives from lectures given at philosophy conferences in 1997. When he died in April 1998, the text remained unrevised and incomplete. nonetheless it was almost immediately published and translated.1 in spite of these complications, the main points of Lyotard’s essay can be summarized fairly economically. Once I...

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5. Love, and Interpret What you Will: A Postsecular Camus-Augustine Encounter

Ramsey Eric Ramsey

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pp. 77-92

Even though one knows what one will say in a speech, one does not know what one will have said. In 1948 French-Algerian philosopher Albert Camus delivered a speech to the Dominican Monastery of Latour-Maubourg to which his editors give the title “The Unbeliever and Christians.”1 This wonderful and thoughtful speech ends with Camus citing Augustine so as to call...

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6. “A Limit That Resides in the Word”: Hermeneutic Appropriations of Augustine

John Arthos

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pp. 93-106

Augustine occupies a pivotal place in Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutics, although at one remove—a teacher of teachers. The root of his significance for Gadamer lies principally in his reflections on “the deepest mystery of Christian doctrine, the mystery of the Trinity.”1 Gadamer placed unequivocal emphasis on this theme: “I personally believe that this doctrine has...

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7. Self-Identity and Time

Algis Mickūnas

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pp. 107-126

Numerous thinkers have suggested that if we could understand time, we would understand everything, and in numerous metaphors time is given the awesome power to rule over the destinies of all things, humans and divinities. Whether recognized explicitly or lived tacitly, time is an a priori condition of continuity, disruption, and transformation of events across the...

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8. A Time to Be Born, a Time to Die: Saint Augustine’s Confessions and Paul Ricoeur’s Time and Narrative

Andreea Deciu Ritivoi

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pp. 127-144

Paul Ricoeur’s most sustained engagement with St. Augustine’s Confessions appears in the opening chapters of his magisterial three-volume study of narrative, Time and Narrative. Published in the mid-1980s, this work consecrated Ricoeur as one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. Recognition came first in the United States (where he had already...

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9. Ellul and Augustine on Rhetoric and Philosophy of Communication

Calvin L. Troup, Clifford G. Christians

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pp. 145-172

Jacques Ellul (1912–1994) is best known as an enemy of modernity. Throughout his work Ellul conducts a relentless critique of the discursive phenomenon of modernity he refers to as la technique. As he says in The Technological Society: “The term Technique, as I use it, does not mean machines, technology, or this or that procedure for attaining an end. in our technological...

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Calvin L. Troup

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pp. 173-180

What makes Augustine a worthy interlocutor for rhetoric and philosophy of communication? The conversations among continental philosophers, Augustine, and present scholars remind us that old books are valuable not because they are old but because they introduce questions not otherwise available into considerations of present issues.1 These essays suggest...


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pp. 181-212


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pp. 213-226

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pp. 227-228

Ronald C. Arnett
Henry Koren, C.S.Sp., Endowed Chair for Scholarly Excellence, chair and professor of Communication & Rhetorical Studies at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

John Arthos
Associate professor of rhetoric in the Department of Communication at Denison University, Granville, Ohio

Clifford G. Christians
Research professor of communications, emeritus, in...

Index of People and Places

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pp. 229-230

Subject Index

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pp. 231-237

E-ISBN-13: 9781481300889
E-ISBN-10: 1481300881
Print-ISBN-13: 9781481300872
Print-ISBN-10: 1481300873

Page Count: 255
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Studies in Rhetoric and Religion