Augustine Deformed: Love, Sin and Freedom in the Western Moral Tradition

Augustine Deformed: Love, Sin and Freedom in the Western Moral Tradition

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John M. Rist
Cambridge University Press, 9/15/2014
EAN 9781107075795, ISBN10: 1107075793

Hardcover, 434 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.9 cm
Language: English

Augustine established a moral framework that dominated Western culture for more than a thousand years. His partly flawed presentation of some of its key concepts (love, will and freedom), however, prompted subsequent thinkers to attempt to repair this framework, and their efforts often aggravated the very problems they intended to solve. Over time, dissatisfaction with an imperfect Augustinian theology gave way to increasingly secular and eventually impersonal moral systems. This volume traces the distortion of Augustine's thought from the twelfth century to the present and examines its consequent reconstructions. John M. Rist argues that modern philosophies should be recognized as offering no compelling answers to questions about the human condition and as leading inevitably to conventionalism or nihilism. In order to avoid this end, he proposes a return to an updated Augustinian Christianity. Essential reading for anyone interested in Augustine and his influence, Augustine Deformed revitalizes his original conception of love, will and freedom.

1. 'Will' and freedom, mind and love
some pre-Augustinian debates
2. Awe-ful Augustine
sin, freedom and inscrutability
3. Inspirational Augustine
love, desire and knowledge
4. Anselm
will, omnipotence and responsibility
5. Augustine and Aristotle
the problem of Thomas Aquinas
6. Separating morality and salvation
7. The rise and fall of lopsided Augustinianism
8. Naturalism revised
9. Love, will and the moral sense
10. Radical revisionists
Hume, Kant and Rousseau
11. Atheist 'freedoms'
liberal, totalitarian and nihilist
12. The age of deception
virtual religion, virtual morality
13. Whither Lady Philosophy
muse, call girl or Valkyrie?
14. Reformed Augustine, genetically modified Adam.