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Title: Augustine's sapiential theology : an exploration and assessment of Sapientia in the thought of St. Augustine
Author: Quinn , Benjamin Tyler
ISNI:       0000 0004 5924 3154
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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This study explores the doctrine of wisdom (sapientia) in St. Augustine. The primary focus is to understand what wisdom is and what it does in Augustine's thought, and how it developed throughout Augustine's writings. Additionally, this study considers how Augustine's notion of wisdom compares to the wisdom literature of Scripture in light of contemporary wisdom scholarship, and how Augustine's sapientiology might be retrieved and renewed for today. While many have acknowledged the importance of sapientia in Augustine, little sustained attention has been given either toward defining precisely what sapientia is or how it functions in his thought. To address these issues, this study highlights the lacuna in research on the topic, then summarizes the wisdom-traditions that preceded Augustine. Chapters two and three consider sapientia's development from Augustine's early works through his mature works identifying sapientia's essential ingredients, and the cluster of biblical passages Augustine employs to support his notion of wisdom. These two chapters identify the time between Ad Simplicianum and Confessiones (c. 396-40 I) with the emergence of I Cor. 12:8 and Job 28:28 as the period when sapientia stabilizes in Augustine's thought, and demonstrates the basic continuity between the sapientia of 393- 395 and that of 396-430. Chapter four focuses on sapientia in De Trinitate, the work where Augustine offers his most systematic treatment on the topic. In this chapter it is argued that sapientia in Augustine is the Triune God fully expressed in the incarnate Christ who, by way of the Spirit, gives light and faith to God's people, and who provides the way through which believers may see clearly, live virtuously, and participate most fully in God, ascending upward in contemplation toward the vision of Him, and thereby restoring His people to the imago dei. Chapter five opens a dialogue with contemporary wisdom scholars for an assessment of Augustine's sapientia especially in relation to the doctrine of creation. It is argued that though Augustine's notion of wisdom is governed by a restrained doctrine of creation and an underdeveloped view of the wisdom literature, his biblically rooted, Christocentric, faith-first approach provides a promising way forward for the retrieval and renewal of Augustinian wisdom in contemporary theology. The concluding chapter recapitulates the findings and conclusions of chapters one through five and ends with suggestions for further research .
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available