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Title: Augustine's spiritual theology of scripture in his 'Sermones ad populum'
Author: Glowasky, Henry Michael Bergen
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 4804
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2017
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Augustine of Hippo occupies an important place in the recent renewed interest in early Christian interpretation and application of Scripture. Yet, most studies of Augustine’s use of Scripture to date have focused primarily on his sign theory found in De doctrina christiana or on his developing use of Scripture forged in the 390s in opposition to the Manichees. However, while both of these are important aspects of his thought, I propose in this thesis that when the African Doctor’s use of the Bible is examined in the context which it primarily functioned for him throughout his life—that is, as a preacher—its distinct and unique spiritual character emerges as the centrepiece in his theology of Scripture. I argue that Augustine draws on his rhetorical training in general, and on the notion of narratio in particular, both to make sense of the spiritual strategy he finds at work in Scripture and to faithfully guide those under his care at Hippo into a deeper engagement with it. To make my case, I trace Augustine’s application of Scripture to those at three progressive stages of the spiritual maturation process—catechumens, neophytes, and the faithful—and I maintain that there is a discernable pattern at work in which he applies Scripture in such a way as to progressively lead his audience into the contemplation of immaterial reality: to the catechumens, he uses Scripture as a judicial narratio; to the neophytes, he uses it as a deliberative narratio; and to the faithful, he uses it as a dialectical narratio. Through these progressive stages, Augustine invites his parishioners to become participants in the divine oration playing out in time and thereby progress to the contemplation of the eternal God. Through a focused study of his Sermones ad populum, therefore, Augustine’s distinct spiritual understanding of the Bible, in which its character is intimately tied to the Christian spiritual maturation process, is found to be at the heart of his theology of Scripture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available