Inner Grace: Augustine in the Traditions of Plato and Paul

Inner Grace: Augustine in the Traditions of Plato and Paul

by Phillip Cary
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195336488

ISBN-13: 9780195336481

Pub. Date: 03/26/2008

Publisher: Oxford University Press

This book is, along with Outward Signs (OUP 2008), a sequel to Phillip Cary's Augustine and the Invention of the Inner Self (OUP 2000). In this work, Cary traces the development of Augustine's epochal doctrine of grace, arguing that it does not represent a rejection of Platonism in favor of a more purely Christian point of view a turning from Plato to Paul, as it

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Overview

This book is, along with Outward Signs (OUP 2008), a sequel to Phillip Cary's Augustine and the Invention of the Inner Self (OUP 2000). In this work, Cary traces the development of Augustine's epochal doctrine of grace, arguing that it does not represent a rejection of Platonism in favor of a more purely Christian point of view a turning from Plato to Paul, as it is often portrayed. Instead, Augustine reads Paul and other Biblical texts in light of his Christian Platonist inwardness, producing a new concept of grace as an essentially inward gift. For Augustine, grace is needed first of all to heal the mind so it may see God, but then also to help the will turn away from lower goods to love God as its eternal Good. Eventually, over the course of Augustine's career, the scope of the soul's need for grace expands outward to include not only the inner vision of the intellect and the power of love but even the initial gift of faith.

At every stage, Augustine insists that divine grace does not compromise or coerce the human will but frees, heals, and helps it, precisely because grace is not an external force but an inner gift of delight leading to true happiness. As his polemic against the Pelagians develops, however, he does attribute more to grace and less to the power of free will. In the end, it is God's choice which makes the ultimate difference between the saved and the damned, and we cannot know why he chooses to save one person and not another. From this Augustinian doctrine of divine choice or election stem the characteristic pastoral problems of predestination, especially in Protestantism. A more external, indeed Jewish, doctrine of election would be more Biblical, Cary suggests, and would result in a less anxious experience of grace.

Along with its companion work, Outward Signs, this careful and insightful book breaks new ground in the study of Augustine's theology of grace and sacraments.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195336481
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
03/26/2008
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

1 Platonist Grace: Inner Help to Love 7

Wisdom and Virtue 8

Conversion and Purification 10

Beauty and Love 14

Free Will against Autonomy 16

From Fear to Love 18

Against Augustine on the Jews 21

Dialogue with Plato 23

The Widening Scope of Inner Help 25

Connections of Love 30

2 Pauline Grace: Human Will and Divine Choice 33

Divine Good Will 35

The Inward-Turning Will 38

Willing Becomes Difficult 40

Four Stages 43

The Place of Merit 45

Early Inconsistency 48

Jacob and Esau 50

The Call to Faith 53

Assent or Delight? 57

No External Cause of Grace 60

Reading Paul's Admonition 62

3 Anti-Pelagian Grace: Clarifying Prevenience 69

The Shape of the Controversy 70

The Grace of Participation 72

Uncovering Pelagian Evasions 78

Augustine's Evasiveness 82

The Missing Piece of the Puzzle 87

Taught by God 93

4 Predestined Grace: Conversion and Election 99

The Grace of Beginnings 101

Converting Paul's Will 102

Coercion on the Damascus Road 105

The Experience of Grace in Disarray 110

God Turns Hearts 113

Problems of Perseverance 116

Biblical Election 121

App Phases of Augustine's Anti-Pelagian Writings 131

Abbreviations 137

Notes 141

Bibliography 177

Index 183

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