Augustine and Modernity

Augustine and Modernity

by Michael Hanby

Paperback(New Edition)

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Augustine and Modernity is a fresh and challenging addition to current debates about the Augustinian origins of modern subjectivity and the Christian genesis of Western nihilism. It firmly rejects the dominant modern view that the modern Cartesian subject, as an archetype of Western nihilism, originates in Augustine's thought. Arguing that most contemporary interpretations misrepresent the complex philosophical relationship between Augustine and modern philosophy, particularly with regard to the work of Descartes, the book examines the much overlooked contribution of Stoicism to the genealogy of modernity, producing a scathing riposte to commonly-held versions of the 'continuity thesis'.
Michael Hanby identifies the modern concept of will that emerges in Descartes' work as the product of a notion of self more proper to Stoic theories of immanence than to Augustine's own rigorous understandings of the Trinity, creation, self and will. Though Augustine's encounter with Stoicism ultimately resulted in much of his teaching being transferred to Descartes and other modern thinkers in an adulterated form, Hanby draws critical attention to Augustine's own disillusionment with Stoicism and his interrogation of Stoic philosophy in the name of Christ and the Trinity. Representing a new school of theology willing to engage critically with other disciplines and to challenge their authority, Augustine and Modernity offers a comprehensive new interpretation of De Trinitate and of Augustinian concepts of will and soul. Revealing how much of what is now thought of as 'Augustinian' in fact has its genealogy in Stoic asceticism, it interprets the modern nihilistic Cartesian subject not as a logical consequence of a true Christian Trinitarian theology, but rather of its perversion and abandonment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780415284691
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 05/30/2003
Series: Routledge Radical Orthodoxy Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.80(d)

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Augustine and Modernity 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ericaustinlee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very erudite discussion of Augustine and his relation to stoicism and the modern retrieval of stoicism in Descartes. Hanby critiques the common misconception that Augustine is merely a 'precursor' to the modern conception of the self, which even Charles Taylor seems to misplace as well in his _Sources of the Self_. Hanby provides a careful exposition of Augustine's _De Trinitate_ which serves as a helpful guide for the rest of Augustine's thought regarding the Trinity and how the self is an image of the love the Father has for the Son in the Spirit. A gorgeous, challenging, and highly recommended work!