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Title: Hermeneutics and the church : in dialogue with Augustine
Author: Andrews, James A.
ISNI:       0000 0003 8064 983X
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis sets out to contribute to two fields: Augustinian studies, particularly on De doctrina christiana, and theology, specifically biblical interpretation. To do so, it puts Augustine’s text into dialogue with contemporary theological hermeneutics. The dialogical nature of the exercise allows him to remain a living voice, speaking from outside, providing resources to move beyond the current debates about the use of theology in biblical interpretation. Such a dialogue requires understanding Augustine’s text well while also grasping the existing situation. This thesis therefore explores De doctrina, engaging with typical debates and seeking to hear Augustine’s voice through the words of the text. Thereafter, his hermeneutical treatise is put into dialogue with two contemporary theologians, Werner Jeanrond and Stephen Fowl. I categorize Augustine’s text as an a posteriori hermeneutics in contrast to Jeanrond’s a priori hermeneutics. That is, Augustine does not conceive of his theory as a constraint to a logically subsequent practice in the way Jeanrond does. At the same time, Augustine does not write a strictly local hermeneutics. He can be flexible and eclectic, utilizing philosophy without subordinating theology. Still, the nature of his hermeneutics requires the ecclesial community, a commitment that brings him close to Fowl. In contrast to Fowl, however, Augustine still has much to say about the text’s voice in the words of the authors of scripture. Scriptural interpretation engenders virtue for Augustine, whereas for Fowl, the lack of virtue in the church inhibits interpretation. Above all, I argue on the basis of De doctrina that the paradigm for theological interpretation is the sermon and that its end is to engender the double love of God and neighbor.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Hermeneutics