Memory in the theological anthropology of St. Augustine : “In memoria est cogitandi modus”
The place of memory in the theological anthropology of St. Augustine has its roots in the platonie epistemological tradition. Augustine actively engages with this tradition in his early writings in a manner that is both philosophically sophisticated and doctrinally consistent with his later, more overtly theological, writings. From the Cassiciacum dialogues through De musica, Augustine points to the central importance of memory: he examines this power of the soul as something that mediates sense-perception and understanding, while explicitly deferring a more profound treatment of it until Confessiones and De trinitate. In these two texts, memory is the foundation for the location of the imago Dei in the mind. It becomes the basis for the spiritual experience of the embodied creature, and a source of the profound anxiety that results from the sensed opposition of human time and divine time (aeterna ratio). This tension is contained and resolved, to a limited extent, in Augustine's Christology, in the ability of a paradoxical incarnation to unify the temporal and the eternal (in Confessions 11 and 12), and the life of faith (scientia) with the promised contemplation of the divine (sapientia, in De trinitate 12-14).