Augustine's Reception of Augustine: How to compare images and how to write history?

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Abstract

[In] order to discover what the author was aiming at in writing this final correction of his own works. It turns out that the Retractationes can, not surprisingly, be linked to his other autobiographical works, the Soliloquia and the Confessions. In the Soliloquia, Augustine examines the difference between true and false in the way he pictures himself. Next, in the Confessions, he continues to examine his own image and he discovers the role of grace: one can only rightly picture oneself with the aid of grace. Finally, in the Retractationes he reconsiders almost all his works and corrects the possibly false image these works might give of the author. He does so in particular by pretending that even in earlier periods the notion of grace was always the prevailing one in his writings. He surely may have written against the Manicheans, he may have insisted on the importance of the free will, but in fact he was already arguing against the Pelagians. Augustine changes his image for two reasons. Frist, he wants to rectify his own image so that the true one can be handed over to posterity. This is his wish to create his own reception. Secondly, he creates a new image that is based on the discovery of an interior image. It is this discovery that will allow him to make the autobiographical image also an essential part of his theology of image. It is the discovery that a personal view on one’s life may become the discovery of God’s view on his life and so the autobiographical image and the interior image become, once again, the tale of two stories, of two cities so to say, which reveal us the presence of the divine in our human existence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-170
Number of pages26
JournalSacris Erudiri
Volume58
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Reception Augustine

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