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 Post subject: St Augustine 'On Christian Doctrine'
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:33 pm 
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Has anyone read this? it is supposedly a short little book about Biblical interpretation, but I'm several characters in and he is talking about literally everything but...he is going on and on about abstruse philosophy, such as the difference between use and enjoyment, whether it can be said that we use or enjoy God, and whether God uses or enjoys us etc etc etc for 30,40,50 pages I this little book that us barely 300 pages long.

I know St Augustine is an author who has a roundabout way of making a point. If you asked him for the time he would respond 'to answer that, we will to summarize the history of the world up to point where you asked me that question' and 5 hours later he tells you it was 3 o'clock.

I get that this is how he writes, but I literally have no what he is talking about or what any of this has to do with the ostensible topic of the book.

It is getting rather frustrating

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 Post subject: Re: St Augustine 'On Christian Doctrine'
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:58 am 
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I haven’t read it, but it sounds interesting.

I can see how abstruse philosophy can help us better understand the Bible. Perhaps St. Augustine wants to build a very solid foundation first?

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 Post subject: Re: St Augustine 'On Christian Doctrine'
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:21 am 
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Peetem wrote:
I haven’t read it, but it sounds interesting.

I can see how abstruse philosophy can help us better understand the Bible. Perhaps St. Augustine wants to build a very solid foundation first?


I have no idea what any of this could possibly have to do with the topic of Biblical interpretation.

Ancient authors are different from modern authors. Modern authors are expected to immediately state the thesis and to include nothing that doesn't advance the thesis. Ancient authors tend to talk about everything except the thesis, and diverge from the subject matter constantly. Every ancient author was Victor Hugo. Thus, reading ancient books is always an exercise in patience

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Last edited by Doom on Sat Apr 10, 2021 9:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: St Augustine 'On Christian Doctrine'
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:29 pm 
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Doom wrote:
Has anyone read this? it is supposedly a short little book about Biblical interpretation, but I'm several characters in and he is talking about literally everything but...he is going on and on about abstruse philosophy, such as the difference between use and enjoyment, whether it can be said that we use or enjoy God, and whether God uses or enjoys us etc etc etc for 30,40,50 pages I this little book that us barely 300 pages long.

I know St Augustine is an author who has a roundabout way of making a point. If you asked him for the time he would respond 'to answer that, we will to summarize the history of the world up to point where you asked me that question' and 5 hours later he tells you it was 3 o'clock.

I get that this is how he writes, but I literally have no what he is talking about or what any of this has to do with the ostensible topic of the book.

It is getting rather frustrating


I’ve read it. Keep reading, it gets better, in my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: St Augustine 'On Christian Doctrine'
PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 5:06 pm 
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Philosophers, in general, spend a lot of time defining the problem and the terms they use. As a result, it's a rare philosopher who comes straight to the point.


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 Post subject: Re: St Augustine 'On Christian Doctrine'
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:50 pm 
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Vern Humphrey wrote:
Philosophers, in general, spend a lot of time defining the problem and the terms they use. As a result, it's a rare philosopher who comes straight to the point.



It doesn't sound like you've read a lot of philosophy. But my complaint is that the things he starts talking about actually have nothing to do with the topic, like at all. Like most ancient authors, St. Augustine often puts stuff in his books that have nothing to do with the topic. Ever read the second half of the Confessions? He literally changes the topic and spends several chapters talking about the proper interpretation of the creation account of Genesis, which has absolutely NOTHING to do with the first half of the book, and is why most modern editions of the Confessions don't even include the second half of the book.

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 Post subject: Re: St Augustine 'On Christian Doctrine'
PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:22 pm 
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Doom wrote:
Vern Humphrey wrote:
Philosophers, in general, spend a lot of time defining the problem and the terms they use. As a result, it's a rare philosopher who comes straight to the point.



It doesn't sound like you've read a lot of philosophy. But my complaint is that the things he starts talking about actually have nothing to do with the topic, like at all. Like most ancient authors, St. Augustine often puts stuff in his books that have nothing to do with the topic. Ever read the second half of the Confessions? He literally changes the topic and spends several chapters talking about the proper interpretation of the creation account of Genesis, which has absolutely NOTHING to do with the first half of the book, and is why most modern editions of the Confessions don't even include the second half of the book.


I think City of God is like 1,000+ pages. Well, it starts to become interesting and very inspirational half way through. I do like his account of Roman History etc beforehand.

St Augustine loves to write!

I usually always recommend to someone who picks up that book, City of God, to start in the middle, otherwise there’s a good chance they’ll put it down.

I definitely find St Augustine as jumping around alot. But oftentimes he’s got these golden nuggets in the middle of where you least expect it sometimes. He’s definitely not as systematic as Aristotle or Aquinas.

I think Augustine was one of the greatest minds in the Church other than St Thomas. I didn’t know that until I spent time going through much of his writings even though I was at first uninterested. I’m glad I did. I’m no theologian but I certainly see why Pope Benedict loves St Augustine so much.


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