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By Paul Rigby

This examine of the Confessions engages with modern philosophers and psychologists opposed to faith and demonstrates the iconic worth of Augustine's trip for these suffering from theistic incredulity and non secular narcissism. Paul Rigby attracts on present Augustinian scholarship and the works of Paul Ricœur to cross-examine Augustine's testimony. This research finds the sophistication of Augustine's confessional textual content, which anticipates the analytical state of mind of his critics. Augustine offers a coherent, defensible reaction to 3 age-old difficulties: unfastened will and charm; goodness, blameless soreness, and radical evil; and freedom and predestination. The Theology of Augustine's Confessions strikes past observation and permits present-day readers to appreciate the Confessions as its unique readers skilled it, bridging the divide brought by means of Kant, Hegel, Freud, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and their descendants.

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Extra resources for The Theology of Augustine's Confessions

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This is a space wherein “nothing more than an exchange, simply a human conversation” may now take place (PR 51). It is, as he will later call it, an act of “profanation” in a certain sense because it is the suspension of the religious-parodic impulse that in turn allows the space of the “truly human” (beyond any “anthropological machinery”, and hence even beyond what we typically conceive of as “humanity”) to be encountered. Though Agamben does not say as much in this context, the entrance of the divine into the human, as the core constitutive event which forever marked the Christian legacy, is fundamentally a resolution of the tensions opened up through the parody of the divine present within a monotheistic setting.

In order for it to exist at all, it must therefore not pass over into its negation. It is Herman Melville’s figure of “Bartleby the Scrivner” who, in his insistence upon the preference not to, maintains a certain sense of “im-potentiality” that Agamben seeks to elaborate more fully (cf. B, translated in P 243–271; see also CC 35–37). 6 Hence, rather than “I will not” being the declarative phrase of resistance uttered to his boss, Bartleby’s “I prefer not to” is an emphatic distancing of himself from the entire machinery of actuality and its formulation of a decisive will, which is to be seen here as little more than a slightly veiled attempt to obtain power.

PR 41). Extended beyond prose and into the realm of ritual, parody indeed becomes the basis for importing a different, nontragic, backdrop against which to view the human subject. Hence, its infiltration into theology and the basic practices of its tradition. Liturgy thus becomes a form of parody, if viewed in this way (PR 42). Though, as much as parody is able to enter into religious expressions, it also disrupts any genuine presentation of the mystery which is kept at a distance. 20 By accomplishing much more than Dante’s elaboration of the “comic” project, then, the act of invoking parody becomes more essential to preserving mystery in the end than any religious effort to envelop mystery with the practices and pronouncements of a long and varied tradition.

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