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Title: St. Augustine's Platonic sources as intertexts
Author: Stanfiel, Joseph Byrd
ISNI:       0000 0001 3477 212X
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis attempts to determine whether Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, ever read Plato's dialogues, in the Confessions, Augustine cites the importance of certain libri Plafonicorum, books of the Platonists, to his own understanding of the nature of God and the universe. It is clear from his account that exposure to these books was a watershed event in his life. The insights communicated by them contributed to his conversion to Christianity and laid the foundation for the development of his own Christian philosophy. The questions of the identity of the libri Plaloniconim and of Augustine's knowledge of Plato generally have been addressed in scholarship many times before. Previous studies have used the methodology of Quellenforschung, comparing the texts of Augustine's writings with those of Plato's dialogues and comparing them for similarities, almost always doctrinal. It was assumed that close correspondences would indicate Augustine's familiarity with Plato and suggest his influence on particular Augustinian doctrines. The present study differs from all preceding scholarly works in that it develops and applies a new method that allows for philologically based comparisons of texts. Some half-century of scholarship on allusions in ancient literature has revealed specific and demonstrable characteristics of allusion, techniques applied by the ancients to effect allusions and linguistic markers that indicate the presence of allusions. A body of theoretical knowledge has also been developed to interpret the significance of allusions. The current study approaches Augustine's citations of previous authors as literary allusions. Borrowing from allusion scholarship, it develops a methodology for identifying Augustine's allusions and suggests means of interpreting their significance. The findings of the study are replicable and easily evaluated; the method devised can be applied not only to Augustine's Platonic readings, but also to his knowledge and use of literature generally and to the relationships between ancient authors and texts across genres.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Confessions