Augustine Philosophy Quotes

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Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.
Augustine of Hippo
Reading list (1972 edition)[edit] 1. Homer – Iliad, Odyssey 2. The Old Testament 3. Aeschylus – Tragedies 4. Sophocles – Tragedies 5. Herodotus – Histories 6. Euripides – Tragedies 7. Thucydides – History of the Peloponnesian War 8. Hippocrates – Medical Writings 9. Aristophanes – Comedies 10. Plato – Dialogues 11. Aristotle – Works 12. Epicurus – Letter to Herodotus; Letter to Menoecus 13. Euclid – Elements 14. Archimedes – Works 15. Apollonius of Perga – Conic Sections 16. Cicero – Works 17. Lucretius – On the Nature of Things 18. Virgil – Works 19. Horace – Works 20. Livy – History of Rome 21. Ovid – Works 22. Plutarch – Parallel Lives; Moralia 23. Tacitus – Histories; Annals; Agricola Germania 24. Nicomachus of Gerasa – Introduction to Arithmetic 25. Epictetus – Discourses; Encheiridion 26. Ptolemy – Almagest 27. Lucian – Works 28. Marcus Aurelius – Meditations 29. Galen – On the Natural Faculties 30. The New Testament 31. Plotinus – The Enneads 32. St. Augustine – On the Teacher; Confessions; City of God; On Christian Doctrine 33. The Song of Roland 34. The Nibelungenlied 35. The Saga of Burnt Njál 36. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica 37. Dante Alighieri – The Divine Comedy;The New Life; On Monarchy 38. Geoffrey Chaucer – Troilus and Criseyde; The Canterbury Tales 39. Leonardo da Vinci – Notebooks 40. Niccolò Machiavelli – The Prince; Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy 41. Desiderius Erasmus – The Praise of Folly 42. Nicolaus Copernicus – On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres 43. Thomas More – Utopia 44. Martin Luther – Table Talk; Three Treatises 45. François Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel 46. John Calvin – Institutes of the Christian Religion 47. Michel de Montaigne – Essays 48. William Gilbert – On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies 49. Miguel de Cervantes – Don Quixote 50. Edmund Spenser – Prothalamion; The Faerie Queene 51. Francis Bacon – Essays; Advancement of Learning; Novum Organum, New Atlantis 52. William Shakespeare – Poetry and Plays 53. Galileo Galilei – Starry Messenger; Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences 54. Johannes Kepler – Epitome of Copernican Astronomy; Concerning the Harmonies of the World 55. William Harvey – On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals; On the Circulation of the Blood; On the Generation of Animals 56. Thomas Hobbes – Leviathan 57. René Descartes – Rules for the Direction of the Mind; Discourse on the Method; Geometry; Meditations on First Philosophy 58. John Milton – Works 59. Molière – Comedies 60. Blaise Pascal – The Provincial Letters; Pensees; Scientific Treatises 61. Christiaan Huygens – Treatise on Light 62. Benedict de Spinoza – Ethics 63. John Locke – Letter Concerning Toleration; Of Civil Government; Essay Concerning Human Understanding;Thoughts Concerning Education 64. Jean Baptiste Racine – Tragedies 65. Isaac Newton – Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy; Optics 66. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – Discourse on Metaphysics; New Essays Concerning Human Understanding;Monadology 67. Daniel Defoe – Robinson Crusoe 68. Jonathan Swift – A Tale of a Tub; Journal to Stella; Gulliver's Travels; A Modest Proposal 69. William Congreve – The Way of the World 70. George Berkeley – Principles of Human Knowledge 71. Alexander Pope – Essay on Criticism; Rape of the Lock; Essay on Man 72. Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu – Persian Letters; Spirit of Laws 73. Voltaire – Letters on the English; Candide; Philosophical Dictionary 74. Henry Fielding – Joseph Andrews; Tom Jones 75. Samuel Johnson – The Vanity of Human Wishes; Dictionary; Rasselas; The Lives of the Poets
Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)
His knowledge is not like ours, which has three tenses: present, past, and future. God's knowledge has no change or variation.
Augustine of Hippo (City of God)
... the earthly city glories in itself, the Heavenly City glories in the Lord.
Augustine of Hippo (City of God)
Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms?
Augustine of Hippo (City of God)
There is within us a fundamental dis-ease, an unquenchable fire that renders us incapable, in this life, of ever coming to full peace. This desire lies at the center of our lives, in the marrow of our bones, and in the deep recesses of the soul. At the heart of all great literature, poetry, art, philosophy, psychology, and religion lies the naming and analyzing of this desire. Spirituality is, ultimately, about what we do with that desire. What we do with our longings, both in terms of handling the pain and the hope they bring us, that is our spirituality . . . Augustine says: ‘You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.’ Spirituality is about what we do with our unrest.
Ronald Rolheiser
The ancient world found an end to anarchy in the Roman Empire, but the Roman Empire was a brute fact, not an idea. The Catholic world sought an end to anarchy in the church, which was an idea, but was never adequately embodied in fact. Neither the ancient nor the medieval solution was satisfactory – the one because it could not be idealized, the other because it could not be actualized. The modern world, at present, seems to be moving towards a solution like that of antiquity: a social order imposed by force, representing the will of the powerful rather than the hopes of the common men. The problem of a durable and satisfactory social order can only be solved by combining the solidarity of the Roman Empire with the idealism of St. Augustine’s City of God. To achieve this a new philosophy will be needed
Bertrand Russell (History of Western Philosophy (Routledge Classics))
...Since divine truth and scripture clearly teach us that God, the Creator of all things, is Wisdom, a true philosopher will be a lover of God. That does not mean that all who answer to the name are really in love with genuine wisdom, for it is one thing to be and another to be called a philosopher.
Augustine of Hippo (City of God)
You are not blamed for your unwilling ignorance, but because you fail to ask about what you do not know.... For no one is prevented from leaving behind the disadvantage of ignorance and seeking the advantage of knowledge.
Augustine of Hippo
Le bonheur, c'est continuer à désirer ce que l'on a déjà.
Augustine of Hippo
I was always exceedingly delighted with that saying of Chrysostom, "The foundation of our philosophy is humility"; and yet more pleased with that of Augustine: "As the orator, when asked, What is the first precept in eloquence? answered, Delivery: What is the second? Delivery: What is the third? Delivery: so if you ask me concerning the precepts of the Christian religion, I will answer, first, second, and third, Humility.
John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
Plotinus had been born in Alexandria at the beginning of the third century A.D. Like many brilliant critics, he thought he understood what he had read better than the author himself.
Paul Strathern (St Augustine: Philosophy in an Hour)
It was an age in which there was action and reaction between religion and philosophy; but in which the power of Christianity was so great in its influences on Paganism, that some received the Christian Scriptures only to embody in their phraseology the ideas of heathenism.
Augustine of Hippo (The Complete Works of Saint Augustine: The Confessions, On Grace and Free Will, The City of God, On Christian Doctrine, Expositions on the Book Of Psalms, ... (50 Books With Active Table of Contents))
The question isn't whether you're going to believe, but who; it's not merely about what to believe, but who to entrust yourself to. Do we really think humanity is our best bet? Do we really think we are the the answer to our problems, we who've generated all of them? The problem with everything from Enlightenment scientism to mushy Eat-Pray-Love-ism is us. If anything looks irrational, it's the notion that we are our own best hope.
James K.A. Smith (On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts)
Waiting on God is a bore; but what fun to argue, to score off opponents, to lose one's temper and call it 'righteous indignation,' and at last to pass from controversy to blows, from words to what St. Augustine so deliciously described as the 'benignant asperity' of persecution and punishment!
Aldous Huxley (The Perennial Philosophy)
What kind of ethical philosophy is it that condemns every child, even before it is born, to inherit the sin of a remote ancestor? Augustine,
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Augustine of Hippo (The Confessions of St. Augustine)
Who can plumb its depths? And yet it is a faculty of my soul. Although it is part of my nature, I cannot understand all that I am.
Augustine of Hippo (Confessions)
For we are wont to use the word evil in two senses: the evil a man has done, and the evil a man has suffered.
Augustine of Hippo
Trei lucruri trebuie păzite de dragul sfințeniei: neprihănirea trupului, puritatea sufletului şi adevărul învățăturii.
Augustine of Hippo (Despre minciună)
But the love of wisdom is in Greek called “philosophy,
Augustine of Hippo (The Confessions of Saint Augustine)
If you have understood, then what you have understood is not God.
Augustine of Hippo
Vatru u drugima može zapaliti samo onaj tko sam izgara.
Augustine of Hippo
If dominant views in science and philosophy are correct in their affirmation of randomness and chance, theologians such as Augustine, Calvin and Sproul are wrong. God does not control all things; randomness is real.
Thomas Jay Oord (The Uncontrolling Love of God: An Open and Relational Account of Providence)
But," thought Durtal, "seeing that there are so many more things betwixt heaven and earth than are dreamed of in anybody's philosophy, why not believe in the Trinity? Why reject the divinity of Christ? It is no strain on one to admit the Credo quia absurdum of Saint Augustine and Tertullian and say that if the supernatural were comprehensible it would not be supernatural, and that precisely because it passes the faculties of man it is divine. "And—oh,
Joris-Karl Huysmans (Là-bas)
Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy, and vain deceits; according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ: for in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporeally.
Augustine of Hippo (Confessions)
The sin of Adam and Eve is thought to be have passed down the male line - transmitted in the semen according to Augustine. What kind of ethical philosophy is it that condemns every child, even before it is born, to inherit the sin of a remote ancestor?
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
Literary criticism, as I attempt to practice it, is in the first place 'literary', which is to say personal and passionate. It is not philosophy, politics, or institutionalised religion. At its strongest - Johnson, Hazlitt, Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, and Paul Valéer, among others - it is a kind of wisdom literature, and so a meditation upon life. Yet any distinction between literature and life is misleading. Literature for me is not merely the best part of life; it is itself the form of life, which has no other form.
Harold Bloom (The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life)
philosophy and piety are in many of his reflections as it were molten into one homogeneous whole. In his highest intellectual flights we find the breathings of faith and love, and, amid the profoundest expressions of penitential sorrow, gleams of his metaphysical genius appear.
Augustine of Hippo (The Complete Works of Saint Augustine: The Confessions, On Grace and Free Will, The City of God, On Christian Doctrine, Expositions on the Book Of Psalms, ... (50 Books With Active Table of Contents))
The irrational bias of the myth of progress can be seen in the tendency to criticize orthodox church fathers for reading Greek metaphysics into the text, while overlooking Baruch Spinoza's rationalism and Bruno Bauer's Hegelianism on their own biblical interpretation. Is this because "Greek" metaphysics is bad, but "German" metaphysics is good? According to the history of hermeneutics as told from an Enlightenment perspective, if it were not for the pagan Enlightenment, Christians would still be reading Greek metaphysics into the Bible like Augustine and making it say whatever they pleased like Origen. Is it not rather bizarre that this narrative asks us to believe that it took the pagan Epicureanism of the Enlightenment to rescue us from the "subjectivism" of the Nicene fathers, medieval schoolmen, and Protestant Reformers?
Craig A. Carter (Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition: Recovering the Genius of Premodern Exegesis)
The idea of solvitur ambulando (in walking it will be solved) has been around since St. Augustine, but well before that Aristotle thought and taught while walking the open-air parapets of the Lyceum. It has long been believed that walking in restorative settings could lead not only to physical vigor but to mental clarity and even bursts of genius, inspiration (with its etymology in breathing) and overall sanity. As French academic Frederic Gros writes in A Philosophy of Walking, it’s simply “the best way to go more slowly than any other method that has ever been found.” Jefferson walked to clear his mind, while Thoreau and Nietzsche, like Aristotle, walked to think. “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking,” wrote Nietzsche in Twilight of the Idols. And Rousseau wrote in Confessions, “I can only meditate when I am walking. When I stop, I cease to think; my mind only works with my legs.” Scotland
Florence Williams (The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative)
The Jewish pattern of history, past and future, is such as to make a powerful appeal to the oppressed and unfortunate at all times. Saint Augustine adapted this pattern to Christianity, Marx to Socialism. To understand Marx psychologically, one should use the following dictionary: Yahweh=Dialectical Materialism                         The Messiah=Marx                                The Elect=The Proletariat                            The Church=The Communist Party             The Second Coming=The Revolution                        Hell=Punishment of the Capitalists                      The Millennium=The Communist Commonwealth The terms on the left give the emotional content of the terms on the right, and it is this emotional content, familiar to those who have had a Christian or a Jewish upbringing, that makes Marx’s eschatology credible. A similar dictionary could be made for the Nazis, but their conceptions are more purely Old Testament and less Christian than those of Marx, and their Messiah is more analogous to the Maccabees than to Christ.
Bertrand Russell (A History of Western Philosophy)
What is time? Who can explain this easily and briefly? Who can comprehend this even in thought so as to articulate the answer in words? Yet what do we speak of, in our familiar everyday conversation, more than of time? We surely know what we mean when we speak of it. We also know what is meant when we hear someone else talking about it. What then is time? Provided that no one asks me, I know. If I want to explain it to an inquirer, I do not know. But I confidently affirm myself to know that if nothing passes away, there is no past time, and if nothing arrives, there is no future time, and if nothing existed there would be no present time. Take the two tenses, past and future. How can they 'be' when the past is not now present and the future is not yet present? Yet if the present were always present, it would not pass into the past: it would not be time but eternity. If then, in order to be time at all, the present is so made that it passes into the past, how can we say that this present also 'is'? The cause of its being is that it will cease to be. So indeed we cannot truly say that time exists except in the sense that it tends toward non-existence.
Augustine of Hippo (Confessions)
The tired intellectual sums up the deformities and the vices of a world adrift. He does not act, he suffers; if he favors the notion of tolerance, he does not find in it the stimulant he needs. Tyranny furnishes that, as do the doctrines of which it is the outcome. If he is the first of its victims, he will not complain: only the strength that grinds him into the dust seduces him. To want to be free is to want to be oneself; but he is tired of being himself, of blazing a trail into uncertainty, of stumbling through truths. “Bind me with the chains of Illusion,” he sighs, even as he says farewell to the peregrinations of Knowledge. Thus he will fling himself, eyes closed, into any mythology which will assure him the protection and the peace of the yoke. Declining the honor of assuming his own anxieties, he will engage in enterprises from which he anticipates sensations he could not derive from himself, so that the excesses of his lassitude will confirm the tyrannies. Churches, ideologies, police—seek out their origin in the horror he feels for his own lucidity, rather than in the stupidity of the masses. This weakling transforms himself, in the name of a know-nothing utopia, into a gravedigger of the intellect; convinced of doing something useful, he prostitutes Pascal’s old “abêtissezvous,” the Solitary’s tragic device. A routed iconoclast, disillusioned with paradox and provocation, in search of impersonality and routine, half prostrated, ripe for the stereotype, the tired intellectual abdicates his singularity and rejoins the rabble. Nothing more to overturn, if not himself: the last idol to smash … His own debris lures him on. While he contemplates it, he shapes the idol of new gods or restores the old ones by baptizing them with new names. Unable to sustain the dignity of being fastidious, less and less inclined to winnow truths, he is content with those he is offered. By-product of his ego, he proceeds—a wrecker gone to seed—to crawl before the altars, or before what takes their place. In the temple or on the tribunal, his place is where there is singing, or shouting—no longer a chance to hear one’s own voice. A parody of belief? It matters little to him, since all he aspires to is to desist from himself. All his philosophy has concluded in a refrain, all his pride foundered on a Hosanna! Let us be fair: as things stand now, what else could he do? Europe’s charm, her originality resided in the acuity of her critical spirit, in her militant, aggressive skepticism; this skepticism has had its day. Hence the intellectual, frustrated in his doubts, seeks out the compensations of dogma. Having reached the confines of analysis, struck down by the void he discovers there, he turns on his heel and attempts to seize the first certainty to come along; but he lacks the naiveté to hold onto it; henceforth, a fanatic without convictions, he is no more than an ideologist, a hybrid thinker, such as we find in all transitional periods. Participating in two different styles, he is, by the form of his intelligence, a tributary of the one of the one which is vanishing, and by the ideas he defends, of the one which is appearing. To understand him better, let us imagine an Augustine half-converted, drifting and tacking, and borrowing from Christianity only its hatred of the ancient world. Are we not in a period symmetrical with the one which saw the birth of The City of God? It is difficult to conceive of a book more timely. Today as then, men’s minds need a simple truth, an answer which delivers them from their questions, a gospel, a tomb.
Emil M. Cioran (The Temptation to Exist)
Are there any circumstances in which philosophy is not a power game, albeit one that it is conducted according to the most rigid rules, which are intended to direct us toward the truth? Anyone who feels confident enough to answer this question should ponder the words of Xenophanes: ‘No one knows, or will ever know, the truth about the gods and everything; for if one chanced to say the whole truth, nevertheless one would never know it.’ This accords with much twentieth-century philosophy, as it did with certain elements of Greek philosophy, and has done with skeptical philosophy through the centuries between. Yet if we cannot know the truth, the psychological argument becomes all but irresistible – he who musters the best argument wins. Fortunately we now recognise that philosophy is as much about the rules of this argument as it is about who wins.
Paul Strathern (St Augustine: Philosophy in an Hour)
The number 6 was the first perfect number, and the number of creation. The adjective "perfect" was attached that are precisely equal to the sum of all the smaller numbers that divide into them, as 6=1+2+3. The next such number, incidentally, is 28=1+2+4+7+14, followed by 496=1+2+4+8+16+31+62+124+248; by the time we reach the ninth perfect number, it contains thirty-seven digits. Six is also the product of the first female number, 2, and the first masculine number, 3. The Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo Judaeus of Alexandria (ca. 20 B.C.-c.a. A.D. 40), whose work brought together Greek philosophy and Hebrew scriptures, suggested that God created the world in six days because six was a perfect number. The same idea was elaborated upon by St. Augustine (354-430) in The City of God: "Six is a number perfect in itself, and not because God created the world in six days; rather the contrary is true: God created the world in six days because this number is perfect, and it would remain perfect, even if the work of the six days did not exist." Some commentators of the Bible regarded 28 also as a basic number of the Supreme Architect, pointing to the 28 days of the lunar cycle. The fascination with perfect numbers penetrated even into Judaism, and their study was advocated in the twelfth century by Rabbi Yosef ben Yehudah Ankin in his book, Healing of the Souls.
Mario Livio (The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number)
To find a bond between people strong enough to replace the world was the main political task of early Christian philosophy, and it was Augustine who proposed to found not only the Christian “brotherhood” but all human relationships on charity. But this charity, though its worldlessness clearly corresponds to the general human experience of love, is at the same time clearly distinguished from it in being something which, like the world, is between men: “Even robbers have between them [inter se] what they call charity.
Hannah Arendt (The Human Condition)
By far the highest type of religious thought among the Ancients was that of their philosophers. With Saint Augustine, on the contrary, a new age was beginning, in which by far the highest type of philosophical thinking would be that of the theologians. True enough, even the faith of an Augustinian presupposes a certain exercise of natural reason. We cannot believe something, be it the word of God Himself, unless we find some sense in the formulas which we believe. And it can hardly be expected that we will believe in God's Revelation, unless we be given good reasons to think that such a Revelation has indeed taken place.
Étienne Gilson (Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages)
You have truly gained the mastery of the very stronghold of philosophy, Mother. For without doubt only for lack of words you did not elaborate on this subject as did Tullius [Cicero], whose words will follow. For in the Hortensius, the book he wrote on the praise and defense of philosophy, he said: ‘But see, surely not the philosophers but all given to argument say that those who live just as they wish are happy.’ This is definitely false; for to want what is not appropriate is the worst of all miseries. It is not so miserable not to get what you want as to want to get what you ought not. Wickedness of will brings to everyone greater evil than good fortune brings good.
Augustine of Hippo
There is much: recognition of the fact that human beings live indeterminate and incomplete lives; recognition of the power exerted over and upon us by our own habits and memories; recognition of the ways in which the world presses in on all of us, for it is an intractable place where many things go awry and go astray, where one may all-too-easily lose one’s very self. The epistemological argument is framed by faith, but it stands on its own as an account of willing, nilling, memory, language, signs, affections, delight, the power and the limits of minds and bodies. To the extent that a prideful philosophy refuses to accept these, Augustine would argue, to that extent philosophy hates the human condition itself.
Jean Bethke Elshtain (Augustine and the Limits of Politics (Catholic Ideas for a Secular World))
Think, for example, about the acceptance of gay marriage or female clergy by the more progressive branches of Christianity. Where did this acceptance originate? Not from reading the Bible, St Augustine or Martin Luther. Rather, it came from reading texts like Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality or Donna Haraway’s ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’.14 Yet Christian true-believers – however progressive – cannot admit to drawing their ethics from Foucault and Haraway. So they go back to the Bible, to St Augustine and to Martin Luther, and make a very thorough search. They read page after page and story after story with the utmost attention, until they finally discover what they need: some maxim, parable or ruling that, if interpreted creatively enough, means God blesses gay marriages and women can be ordained to the priesthood. They then pretend the idea originated in the Bible, when in fact it originated with Foucault.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: ‘An intoxicating brew of science, philosophy and futurism’ Mail on Sunday)
The discords of our experience--delight in change, fear of change; the death of the individual and the survival of the species, the pains and pleasures of love, the knowledge of light and dark, the extinction and the perpetuity of empires--these were Spenser's subject; and they could not be treated without this third thing, a kind of time between time and eternity. He does not make it easy to extract philosophical notions from his text; but that he is concerned with the time-defeating aevum and uses it as a concord-fiction, I have no doubt. 'The seeds of knowledge,' as Descartes observed, 'are within us like fire in flint; philosophers educe them by reason, but the poets strike them forth by imagination, and they shine the more clearly.' We leave behind the philosophical statements, with their pursuit of logical consequences and distinctions, for a free, self-delighting inventiveness, a new imagining of the problems. Spenser used something like the Augustinian seminal reasons; he was probably not concerned about later arguments against them, finer discriminations. He does not tackle the questions, in the Garden cantos, of concreation, but carelessly--from a philosophical point of view--gives matter chronological priority. The point that creation necessitates mutability he may have found in Augustine, or merely noticed for himself, without wondering how it could be both that and a consequence of the Fall; it was an essential feature of one's experience of the world, and so were all the arguments, precise or not, about it. Now one of the differences between doing philosophy and writing poetry is that in the former activity you defeat your object if you imitate the confusion inherent in an unsystematic view of your subject, whereas in the second you must in some measure imitate what is extreme and scattering bright, or else lose touch with that feeling of bright confusion. Thus the schoolmen struggled, when they discussed God, for a pure idea of simplicity, which became for them a very complex but still rational issue: for example, an angel is less simple than God but simpler than man, because a species is less simple than pure being but simpler than an individual. But when a poet discusses such matters, as in say 'Air and Angels,' he is making some human point, in fact he is making something which is, rather than discusses, an angel--something simple that grows subtle in the hands of commentators. This is why we cannot say the Garden of Adonis is wrong as the Faculty of Paris could say the Averroists were wrong. And Donne's conclusion is more a joke about women than a truth about angels. Spenser, though his understanding of the expression was doubtless inferior to that of St. Thomas, made in the Garden stanzas something 'more simple' than any section of the Summa. It was also more sensuous and more passionate. Milton used the word in his formula as Aquinas used it of angels; poetry is more simple, and accordingly more difficult to talk about, even though there are in poetry ideas which may be labelled 'philosophical.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
The round, unformed script on the fly-leaf said, Francis Crawford of Lymond. She stared at it; then put it down and picked up another. The writing in this one was older; the neat level hand she had seen once before, in Stamboul. This time it said only, The Master of Culter. That dated it after the death of his father, when until the birth of Richard’s son Kevin, the heir’s rank and title were Lymond’s. And all the books were his, too. She scanned them: some works in English; others in Latin and Greek, French, Italian and Spanish.… Prose and verse. The classics, pressed together with folios on the sciences, theology, history; bawdy epistles and dramas; books on war and philosophy; the great legends. Sheets and volumes and manuscripts of unprinted music. Erasmus and St Augustine, Cicero, Terence and Ptolemy, Froissart and Barbour and Dunbar; Machiavelli and Rabelais, Bude and Bellenden, Aristotle and Copernicus, Duns Scotus and Seneca. Gathered over the years; added to on infrequent visits; the evidence of one man’s eclectic taste. And if one studied it, the private labyrinth, book upon book, from which the child Francis Crawford had emerged, contained, formidable, decorative as his deliberate writing, as the Master of Culter.
Dorothy Dunnett (The Ringed Castle (The Lymond Chronicles, #5))
Augustine relates in his Confessions how it was decisive for his own path when he learned that the famous philosopher Marius Victorinus had become a Christian. Victorinus had long refused to join the Church because he took the view that he already possessed in his philosophy all the essentials of Christianity, with whose intellectual premises he was in complete agreement.10 Since from his philosophical thinking, he said, he could already regard the central Christian ideas as his own, he no longer needed to institutionalize his convictions by belonging to a Church. Like many educated people both then and now, he saw the Church as Platonism for the people, something of which he as a full-blown Platonist had no need. The decisive factor seemed to him to be the idea alone; only those who could not grasp it themselves, as the philosopher could, in its original form needed to be brought into contact with it through the medium of ecclesiastical organization. That Marius Victorinus nevertheless one day joined the Church and turned from Platonist into Christian was an expression of his perception of the fundamental error implicit in this view. The great Platonist had come to understand that a Church is something more and something other than an external institutionalization and organization of ideas. He had understood that Christianity is not a system of knowledge but a way. The believers’ “We” is not a secondary addition for small minds; in a certain sense it is the matter itself—the community with one’s fellowmen is a reality that lies on a different plane from that of the mere “idea”. If Platonism provides an idea of the truth, Christian belief offers truth as a way, and only by becoming a way has it become man’s truth. Truth as mere perception, as mere idea, remains bereft of force; it only becomes man’s truth as a way that makes a claim upon him, that he can and must tread. Thus belief embraces, as essential parts of itself, the profession of faith, the word, and the unity it effects; it embraces entry into the community’s worship of God and, so, finally the fellowship we call Church. Christian belief is not an idea but life; it is, not mind existing for itself, but incarnation, mind in the body of history and its “We”. It is, not the mysticism of the self-identification of the mind with God, but obedience and service: going beyond oneself, freeing the self precisely through being taken into service by something not made or thought out by oneself, the liberation of being taken into service for the whole.
Pope Benedict XVI (Introduction To Christianity)
Pointing forward in time, we see in Plato the first detailed formulation in Western thought of themes that would persist and be developed further in the classical philosophical tradition, from Aristotle to Augustine to the Scholastics: that the material world points beyond itself to an eternal source; that things have immutable forms or essences; that the foundation of morality is to be found in this source and in these essences; that human beings have immaterial souls; that all of this is knowable through reason, and that knowing it is the highest end of philosophy and science.
Edward Feser (The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism)
Augustine's final verdict on the philosophers of Greece and Rome was that, although they had made various mistakes, "nature itself has not permitted them to wander too far from the path of truth" in their judgments about the supreme good (De Civitate Dei 19.1).
Alasdair MacIntyre (God, Philosophy, Universities: A Selective History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition)
Translating Plato’s philosophy to the context of Christian belief, Augustine finds that “out of a certain compassion for the masses God Most High bent down and subjected the authority of the divine intellect even to the human body itself”—in the incarnation of Jesus, the God-Man—so that God might recall “to the intelligible world souls blinded by the darkness of error and befouled by the slime of the body.
Thomas Cahill (Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World (Hinges of History Book 6))
It became forbidden to use rational thought. Early Church leader Tertullian, advocating faith rather than rational thought said, “The son of god died: It must needs be believed because it is absurd”. He (Christ) was buried and rose again: it is certain because it is impossible”. Early Catholic leaders consciously proscribed and established as heretical any thinking that might incite challenge. Theodosius I, Emperor of Byzantium issued an edict allowing worship only of the Christian father and son, banning the worship of any deities or pagan ideas, in 389 CE. The writings of the early Church fathers were thus left undisputed by rival philosophies and in time they came to have the same weight as the Bible itself. All of this was revealed “truth”. It is of great importance to understand that most of what has passed down to Christians as “sin” especially sexual sin, had nothing to do with the man called Christ or even of the books (new testament) written by those who never knew him (Mark 60 CE., Mathew 90 CE, Luke 90 CE., John 90 CE.). Instead these views of sin and what it was to be Christian came from a few influential fathers of the early Church, writing as the Roman empire died.Augustine, the greatest early Christian “thinker” of them all said: “This is the disease of curiosity… It is this which drives us to try and discover the secrets of nature, those secrets which are beyond our understanding, which can avail us nothing and which man should not wish to learn.” With these words, Augustine set the spirit and tone for the Dark Ages to come. Early Church fathers greatly feared any challenge to their ideas. Their fear of knowledge led to a shutting down of all free thought. Bishops deliberately outlawed and declared heretical any thoughts that might lead to a more open minded atmosphere. They strove to codify as fact, a narrow interpretation of the gospels. To do so they altered some gospels and outlawed hundreds of others to project the particular “truth” they had chosen. Their thought centered on sin, the depravity of sex and the merit of suffering as much as Christ. Since Christian fathers had little interest in the vast wealth of learning compiled by the pagan Greeks and Romans, they simply stopped copying and disseminating these works and substituted a carefully edited and selected group of books to comprise the Bible. Almost the only other learning that was supported were the works of the early Church fathers designating a selected and censored Christianity.
John R Gregg
Far from mourning the loss, Christians delighted in it. As John Chrysostom crowed, the writings ‘of the Greeks have all perished and are obliterated’. He warmed to the theme in another sermon: ‘Where is Plato? Nowhere! Where Paul? In the mouths of all!’ The fifth-century writer Theodoret of Cyrrhus observed the decline of Greek literature with similar enthusiasm. ‘Those elaborately decorated fables have been utterly banned,’ he gloated. ‘Who is today’s head of the Stoic heresy? Who is safeguarding the teachings of the Peripatetics?’ No one, evidently, for Theodoret concludes this homily with the observation that ‘the whole earth under the sun has been filled with sermons’. Augustine contentedly observed the rapid decline of the atomist philosophy in the first century of Christian rule. By his time, he recorded, Epicurean and Stoic philosophy had been ‘suppressed’ – the word is his. The opinions of such philosophers ‘have been so completely eradicated and suppressed . . . that if any school of error now emerged against the truth, that is, against the Church of Christ, it would not dare to step forth for battle if it were not covered under the Christian name’.
Catherine Nixey (The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World)
Alexander died in 323 BCE, Augustine in 430 CE. Historians divide this long stretch of time into two main periods, the Hellenistic and the Imperial. Alexander’s death marks the end of the classical and the beginning of the Hellenistic period, while the end of the latter is placed at the start of Augustus Caesar’s principate in 27 BCE, which inaugurates the Imperial period. Four hundred years later, in the lifetime of St Augustine, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, and for more than the next thousand years philosophy was almost exclusively subordinated to the demands of Christian doctrine and Church authority.
A.C. Grayling (The History of Philosophy)
Charles Kahn offers the following summary of how a new metaphysics takes shape in Islamic philosophy: 'My general view of the historical development is that existence in the modern sense becomes a central concept in philosophy only in the period when Greek ontology is radically revised in the light of a metaphysics of creation; that is to say, under the influence of biblical religion. As far as I can see, this development did not take place with Augustine or with the Greek Church Fathers, who remained under the sway of classical ontology. The new metaphysics seems to have taken shape in Islamic philosophy, in the form of a radical distinction between necessary and contingent existence: between the existence of God on the one hand, and that of the created world on the other.' The new metaphysics that takes shape in Islamic philosophy proves fateful for subsequent philosophy in various ways. What will interest us immediately below is how it plays a role in triggering a debate about how to conceive divine creation. What will be of implicit interest later in these replies is how a remarkably unvarnished version of this new metaphysics comes to be detached from its original theological context. The ensuing detheologized modal metaphysics remains in force in some quarters of analytic philosophy, even though it takes its point of departure from a topic (how to understand the act of divine creation) that is no longer of much interest to most analytic philosophers. For the new metaphysics introduces concepts and ways of thinking that, once divested of their theological garb, continually resurface in the history of philosophy up to the present day.
James Ferguson Conant (The Logical Alien: Conant and His Critics)
the Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologica. These last two alone total a stupefying two million words. They are a monumental fusion of learning and faith, and a reconciliation of ancient philosophy and Christian theology, without parallel even in the works of Saint Augustine. In fact, together they make Aquinas the one Christian thinker whose system can stand beside those of Aristotle and Plato—in part because it is a brilliant synthesis of the best of both thinkers.
Arthur Herman (The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization)
In reality, where everything passes on naturally, the copy follows the original, the image the thing which it represents, the thought its object, but on the supernatural, miraculous ground of theology, the original follows the copy, the thing its own likeness. "it is strange" says St. Augustine, "But nevertheless true, that this world could not exist if it was not known to God." That means the world is known and thought before it exists; nay it exists only because it was thought of. The existence is a consequence of the knowledge or of the act of thinking, the original a consequence of the copy, the object a consequence of its likeness.
Ludwig Feuerbach (The Essence of Christianity (Great Books in Philosophy))
173Augustine speaks of a Christianity which has existed since the beginning of the human race,
Herman Bavinck (The Philosophy of Revelation (Edited for the 21st Century Book 2))
The more deeply we live, the more we feel in sympathy with Augustine, and the less with Pelagius.
Herman Bavinck (The Philosophy of Revelation (Edited for the 21st Century Book 2))
As Augustine thought, God will command what he wills and will grant what he commanded.
David K. Naugle (Philosophy: A Student's Guide (Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition))
Frank's goals flow from his peculiar self-love. I say “peculiar” because every human being necessarily loves himself. One can't but love oneself, because one can't but will one's own good, and to love is to desire something as good. What makes Frank's self-love peculiar is that he places the summum bonum, the highest good, in himself. This is why Frank always instrumentalizes others to his own goals and interests. Frank's character should be understood as a radical existential challenge to St. Augustine's (354–430) critique of the libido dominandi, the lust for domination, because Frank holds forth his life as the one that is truly free. Augustine,
J. Edward Hackett (House of Cards and Philosophy: Underwood's Republic)
In the tenth century AD, Augustine’s biblical philosophy of music inspired a group of Benedictine monks to build the world’s largest pipe organ in the cathedral of Winchester, England. The organ required seventy men and twenty-six bellows to supply wind to its four hundred pipes. Technologically, the pipe organ was the world’s most advanced machine until the invention of the mechanical clock. Europe’s organs stood as emblems of the West’s unique desire and ability to use the arts, science, and technology for the glory of God as well as for the relief of humanity’s suffering and toil.**
Vishal Mangalwadi (The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization)
A love which is limited by faith is an untrue love. … [L]ove bound by faith … hides in itself the hatred that belongs to faith; it is only benevolent so long as faith is not injured. … [I]n order to retain the semblance of love, it falls into the most diabolical sophisms, as we see in Augustine's apology for the persecution of heretics. … [I]t interprets the deeds of hatred which are committed for the sake of faith as deeds of love. [T]he limitation of love by faith is itself a contradiction.
Ludwig Feuerbach (The Essence of Christianity (Great Books in Philosophy))
The difference between Plato and Augustine on this most fundamental point of the position of God in the Ideal world may still more clearly be observed if we notice the argument each one gives for holding to his own position. Plato says that to appeal to the revelation of God is really to give up philosophy altogether. He says that we may ask the oracles of the gods when we have to give up philosophy in despair, but not till then. He would not appeal to what he considered foreign aid until his own efforts were proved useless. And even then he did not really expect any help from the ancients or from the oracles. On the other hand, Augustine is equally convinced that unless human knowledge has the right to appeal to divine knowledge, not as to a foreign something, there will be no knowledge for man. He feels that unless we can appeal to God we may as well give up philosophy. So far from subtracting from certainty of human knowledge, the appeal to divine revelation makes it all the more certain. 'The ultimate ground of our certitude becomes our confidence in God. In the last analysis, God is our surety for the validity of our knowledge; and that not merely remotely, as the author of our faculties of knowing, but also immediately as the author of our every act of knowing, and the truth which is known.
Cornelius Van Til (A survey of Christian epistemology (In defense of Biblical Christianity))
The difference between Plato and Augustine on this most fundamental point of the position of God in the Ideal world may still more clearly be observed if we notice the argument each one gives for holding to his own position. Plato says that to appeal to the revelation of God is really to give up philosophy altogether. He says that we may ask the oracles of the gods when we have to give up philosophy in despair, but not till then. He would not appeal to what he considered foreign aid until his own efforts were proved useless. And even then he did not really expect any help from the ancients or from the oracles. On the other hand, Augustine is equally convinced that unless human knowledge has the right to appeal to divine knowledge, not as to a foreign something, there will be no knowledge for man. He feels that unless we can appeal to God we may as well give up philosophy. So far from subtracting from certainty of human knowledge, the appeal to divine revelation makes it all the more certain. 'The ultimate ground of our certitude becomes our confidence in God. In the last analysis, God is our surety for the validity of our knowledge; and that not merely remotely, as the author of our faculties of knowing, but also immediately as the author of our every act of knowing, and the truth which is known.
Cornelius Van Til (A survey of Christian epistemology (In defense of Biblical Christianity))
Plato says that to appeal to the revelation of God is really to give up philosophy altogether. He says that we may ask the oracles of the gods when we have to give up philosophy in despair, but not till then. He would not appeal to what he considered foreign aid until his own efforts were proved useless. And even then he did not really expect any help from the ancients or from the oracles. On the other hand, Augustine is equally convinced that unless human knowledge has the right to appeal to divine knowledge, not as to a foreign something, there will be no knowledge for man. He feels that unless we can appeal to God we may as well give up philosophy. So far from subtracting from certainty of human knowledge, the appeal to divine revelation makes it all the more certain. 'The ultimate ground of our certitude becomes our confidence in God. In the last analysis, God is our surety for the validity of our knowledge; and that not merely remotely, as the author of our faculties of knowing, but also immediately as the author of our every act of knowing, and the truth which is known.
Cornelius Van Til (A survey of Christian epistemology (In defense of Biblical Christianity))
Plato says that to appeal to the revelation of God is really to give up philosophy altogether. He says that we may ask the oracles of the gods when we have to give up philosophy in despair, but not till then. He would not appeal to what he considered foreign aid until his own efforts were proved useless. And even then he did not really expect any help from the ancients or from the oracles. On the other hand, Augustine is equally convinced that unless human knowledge has the right to appeal to divine knowledge, not as to a foreign something, there will be no knowledge for man. He feels that unless we can appeal to God we may as well give up philosophy. So far from subtracting from certainty of human knowledge, the appeal to divine revelation makes it all the more certain. 'The ultimate ground of our certitude becomes our confidence in God. In the last analysis, God is our surety for the validity of our knowledge; and that not merely remotely, as the author of our faculties of knowing, but also immediately as the author of our every act of knowing, and the truth which is known.
Cornelius Van Til (A survey of Christian epistemology (In defense of Biblical Christianity))
Omul care reuşeşte în situaţii favorabile, în cele nefericite învață ce l-a făcut să reuşească. Cîtă vreme există belşug de bunuri schimbătoare, nu are încredere în ele, dar, cînd îi sînt luate, află dacă nu cumva ele nu l-au acaparat, fiindcă, de cele mai multe ori, atunci cînd le avem, socotim că nu ne sînt dragi, dar, cînd încep să ne lipsească, descoperim ce fel sîntem.
Augustin din Hippona (Despre adevarata religie)
Pare că învinge cînd, de fapt, este învins cel care, învingînd, obţine ceea ce va pierde cu durere şi, în schimb, deşi ar părea că este învins, învinge cel care, renunţînd, ajunge să obţină ceea ce nu pierde cu voia sa.
Augustin din Hippona (Despre adevarata religie)
Posedam fără să iubim ceea ce pierdem fără durere.
Augustin din Hippona (Despre adevarata religie)
The flaw that I thought most greatly de-legitimized modern Christian theology was the intellectual and moral respect it continued to show modern atheism long after the twentieth century had revealed—and continued to reveal—the violence beating in the heart of programmatic atheism. Was there anything in pro-grammatic atheism’s creatures—National Socialism, Marxist Communism,and Scientificism—that had not revealed itself as tyrannical and vicious? And yet Christian theologians continued to treat atheism with intellectual respect, as if programmatic atheists were modern versions of free-thinkers in French salons (like, e.g., Voltaire). The fact that modern atheism had clearly revealed itself to have more in common with Jean-Paul Marat than with Voltaire was ignored: judgment was never passed. The myth of self-definition of atheist thinkers was taken at face value: each such intellectual was treated as sui-generis—a philosophical freelancer, with no history that needed to be acknowledged and repented of. While even the most independent of any free church Christianity, traditionally anti-Catholic and thus rejecting the history of Christianity prior to the 1860s, was nonetheless regarded as implicated in century old “crimes of Christianity” and denied any status of “freelancing,” atheism was a moral blank slate that could be, and had to be, taken seriously and respected: any atheist had no history that needed to be accounted for. In my eyes the credentialing of pro-grammatic atheism was a deep moral and intellectual failure by modern theologians.
Michel René Barnes (Augustine and Nicene Theology: Essays on Augustine and the Latin Argument for Nicaea)
As Augustine does at greater length in the City of God, Vico in De constantia philosophiae determines what in pagan philosophy is in agreement with Christian doctrine. He says that first of all skepticism must be diminished, above all in moral doctrine. Vico does not here present an argument against skepticism. He simply claims that there are notions of the eternally true, possessed universally by the human race. He says that skeptics are dan- gerous to the civil order because they will prove there is justice in human affairs one day and refute it the next. This would make the skeptics worse than the poets in Plato’s criticism in the Republic. The poets are dangerous to society because they present the gods as involved in both good and bad conduct and have no standard of virtue by which to judge. The poets are naive, but the skeptics, as Vico portrays them, are deliberate in their attempt to show there is no moral standard.
Donald Phillip Verene (Knowledge of Things Human and Divine: Vico's New Science and Finnegan's Wake)
This theory of beauty is not developed with respect to artefacts alone, but universally. It is independent of taste, for it is recognized that as Augustine says, there are those who take pleasure in deformities. The word deformity is significant here, because it is precisely a formal beauty that is in question; and we must not forget that "formal" includes the connotation "formative." The recognition of beauty depends on judgment, not on sensation; the beauty of the æsthetic surfaces depending on their information, and not upon themselves, Everything, whether natural or artificial, is beautiful to the extent that it really is what it purports to be, and independently of all comparisons; or ugly to the extent that its own form is not expressed and realized in its tangible actuality. The work of art is beautiful, accordingly, in terms of perfection, or truth and aptitude as defined above; whatever is inept or vague cannot be considered beautiful, however it may be valued by those who "know what they like.
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (Christian & Oriental Philosophy of Art Formerly: "Why Exhibit Works of Art?")
Augustine describes his fourteen-year course of reading as a passage through various ideas and ways of thinking but more importantly, through certain motivations, through affections of his heart.13 At the age of eighteen, he is passionately inflamed for learning after he reads an oration by Cicero on the value of philosophy: “The one thing that delighted me in Cicero’s exhortation was that I should love, and seek, and win, and hold, and embrace, not this or that philosophical school, but Wisdom itself, whatever that might be.”14 Cicero’s exhortation ignites in Augustine a restless seeking after wisdom, a form of truth and knowledge that could guide and organize his life.
Zena Hitz (Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life)
In the second book of his great autobiographical word, Confessions, Augustine fretted at length over a childish act of vandalism that he committed long ago with some teenage friends; he was now struggling to understand the motive behind an action that seemed to serve no purpose whatsoever. He concluded that he broke the law for no other reason than the thrill of breaking it, experiencing a rush he calls a 'deceptive sense of omnipotence.' By this phrase he meant that such gratuitous lawbreaking provides the illusion of being as free from the restraints of the moral law as is God, who must be imagined as both creating the moral law and existing outside it. But Augustine went on to say that this attempt to be a god is really only a 'perverse and vicious imitation' of the real deity, not only because it’s so obviously an illusion but also because the very attempt to be like God tacitly concedes that God is a superior model to be imitated.
Brian McDonald
15; PL 33, 628–29), Augustine went beyond the correction of his own works and extended the invitation to criticism to the works of others: “Still, we are not obliged to regard the arguments of any writers, however Catholic and estimable they may be, as we do the canonical Scriptures, so that we may not—with all due respect to the deference owed them as men—refute or reject anything we happen to find in their writings wherein their opinions differ from the established truth, or from what has been thought out by others or by us, with divine help. I wish other thinkers to hold the same attitude toward my writings as I hold toward theirs.
Stephen F. Brown (Historical Dictionary of Medieval Philosophy and Theology (Volume 76) (Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements Series (76)))
For all its newness, we can understand the Reformation as a Renaissance phenomenon. It is antiquarian in the sense that it returns ad fontes, to the Scriptures and the older church fathers, particularly Augustine, bypassing much, but not all, of medieval scholasticism. It is humanistic in that it is concerned in a fresh way with the individual’s relation to God.
John M. Frame (A History of Western Philosophy and Theology)
The primitive character of the new atheism shows itself in the notion that religions are erroneous hypotheses. The Genesis story is not an early theory of the origin of species. In the fourth century AD, the founding theologian of western Christianity, St. Augustine, devoted fifteen years to composing a treatise on The Literal Meaning of Genesis, never completed, in which he argued that the biblical text need not be understood literally if it goes against what we know to be true from other sources. Before Augustine, and more radically, the first-century Greek-speaking Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria presented Genesis as an allegory or myth–an interweaving of symbolic imagery with imagined events that contained a body of meaning that could not easily be expressed in other ways. The story of Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge is a mythical imagining of the ambiguous impact of knowledge on human freedom. Rather than being inherently liberating, knowledge can be used for purposes of enslavement. That is what is meant when, having eaten the forbidden apple after the serpent promises them they will become like gods, Adam and Eve find themselves expelled from the Garden of Eden and condemned to a life of unceasing labour. Unlike scientific theories, myths cannot be true or false. But myths can be more or less truthful to human experience. The Genesis myth is a more truthful rendition of enduring human conflicts than anything in Greek philosophy, which is founded on the myth that knowledge and goodness are inseparably connected. From the eighteenth-century English theologian William Paley…to twenty-first century exponents of creationism, apologists for theism have tried to develop theories that explain the origins of the universe and humankind better than prevailing scientific accounts. In doing so they are conceding to science an unwarranted authority over other ways of thinking. Religion is no more a primitive type of of science than is art or poetry. Scientific inquiry answers a demand for explanation. The practice of religion expresses a need for meaning, which would remain unsatisfied even if everything could be explained.
John Gray (Seven Types of Atheism)
We should not expect too much from the human race, Augustine implies; we’ve been somewhat doomed from the outset. That can be a redemptive thought to keep in mind.
The School of Life (Philosophy in 40 Ideas: Lessons for life)
Friendship is staying close enough to put a hand on their shoulder while giving them enough room to feel the weight.
James K.A. Smith (On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts)
A friend is not an enabler; love doesn’t always look like agreement.
James K.A. Smith (On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts)
It is a terrible and terrifying thing to know what you want to be and then realize you’re the only one standing in your way—to want with every fiber of your soul to be someone different, to escape the “you” you’ve made of yourself, only to fall back into the self you hate, over and over and over again.
James K.A. Smith (On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts)
The notion of a governing narrative that is not your own feels like signing over the rights to your life—which it is! But for Augustine, being enfolded in God’s story in Scripture was not an imposition but a liberation. When you’ve realized that you don’t even know yourself, that you’re an enigma to yourself, and when you keep looking inward only to find an unplumbable depth of mystery and secrets and parts of yourself that are loathsome, then Scripture isn’t received as a list of commands: instead, it breaks into your life as a light from outside that shows you the infinite God who loves you at the bottom of the abyss.
James K.A. Smith (On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts)
Every other burden oppresses you and feels heavy, but Christ’s burden lifts you up; any other burden is a crushing weight, but Christ’s burden has wings.’ Not only can you make it home; you can fly.
James K.A. Smith (On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts)
When we leave home looking for happiness, we’re in search of the self we never knew.
James K.A. Smith (On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts)
Hope is found in a certain art of saying goodbye, but also in looking ahead to the day when Someone will greet us with, “Welcome home”—and knowing how to navigate in the meantime.
James K.A. Smith (On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts)
For the aspiring provincial, the university looks like a ladder. An education is a tool for climbing. Sadly, we live in an age in which the university has adopted this picture of itself. Colleges are credential factories, and the Ivy League is a ridiculously expensive employment agency connecting the new meritocracy with hedge funds and Supreme Court clerkships that function as escalators to wealth and power.
James K.A. Smith (On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts)