Augustine, the Psalms, and the Meaning of the Bible

 

undefinedOne of my articles just got published: “A Trinitarian Ascent: How Augustine’s Sermons on the Psalms of Ascent Transform the Ascent Tradition.” It’s available online for free here.

My article is about Augustine’s sermons on the Psalms of ascent and how his Trinitarian theology transforms the Platonist version of the spiritual ascent tradition. You could read it or skim a few paragraphs if you’re interested. I’m not planning to elaborate much here. Instead, here’s a thesis that’s not in my article; but it’s an idea I’m toying with that would make a great article if it’s correct:

Augustine’s preaching here, and a lot of his other writings, is magnificent philosophy. It’s even good theology in a sense–philosophical theology, that is.  But it’s pretty lousy biblical theology.

To explain a bit:

Augustine’s writings are about as good as you could ask for on a philosophical question like “What’s the ultimate point of everything?” Delight in the goodness of G-d is even a great answer if you want to ask questions like that about the Gospel: “What, ultimately, is the point of getting right with G-d anyway?”  And taking the Platonic idea of ascent to a higher, non-physical reality and reconsidering it as the climb of the church, adding some Trinitarian theology, adding the Incarnation, explaining that the love of G-d and neighbor is the ultimate goal of the whole thing . . . well, amen to that!

But these sermons are not very good explanations of what the Bible actually says.

Maybe.  It’s an idea I may work on eventually.  But I haven’t written that article yet!

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Saint Augustine: But these sermons are not very good explanations of what the Bible actually says.

    Oh, let’s not pay attention to that musty old book. Why, by Augustine’s time, it was centuries old.

    • #1
  2. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine: But these sermons are not very good explanations of what the Bible actually says.

    Oh, let’s not pay attention to that musty old book. Why, by Augustine’s time, it was centuries old.

    Well, thank goodness we have 30,000+ Protestant ecclesial communions to tell us what the Bible actually says.

    • #2
  3. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine: But these sermons are not very good explanations of what the Bible actually says.

    Oh, let’s not pay attention to that musty old book. Why, by Augustine’s time, it was centuries old.

    Well, thank goodness we have 30,000+ Protestant ecclesial communions to tell us what the Bible actually says.

    Um, . . . do we actually want to debate this topic in here?

    • #3
  4. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine: But these sermons are not very good explanations of what the Bible actually says.

    Oh, let’s not pay attention to that musty old book. Why, by Augustine’s time, it was centuries old.

    Well, thank goodness we have 30,000+ Protestant ecclesial communions to tell us what the Bible actually says.

    Um, . . . do we actually want to debate this topic in here?

    No, just stating the obvious.

    • #4
  5. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    That article should score big points with any respectable tenure and promotion committee.

    • #5
  6. Where's Drew? Inactive
    Where's Drew?
    @OldDanRhody

    Saint Augustine: Augustine’s Sermons on the Psalms of Ascent

    Can’t help you there.  I’m only up to Psalm 88, which is more appropriate for a sermon on Job.

    • #6
  7. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine: But these sermons are not very good explanations of what the Bible actually says.

    Oh, let’s not pay attention to that musty old book. Why, by Augustine’s time, it was centuries old.

    Well, thank goodness we have 30,000+ Protestant ecclesial communions to tell us what the Bible actually says.

    Um, . . . do we actually want to debate this topic in here?

    No, just stating the obvious.

    If it were obvious, wouldn’t I be a Catholic by now?

    Or . . . maybe it’s obvious but it’s not obvious what obvious thing you were stating?

    • #7
  8. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Where's Drew? (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine: Augustine’s Sermons on the Psalms of Ascent

    Can’t help you there. I’m only up to Psalm 88, which is more appropriate for a sermon on Job.

    No, no. See if Augustine can help you.

    He says lovely things on the Psalms. Psalm 37, now–he probably interpreted lots of them correctly, including 37.

    • #8
  9. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    That article should score big points with any respectable tenure and promotion committee.

    Too late. No government grant and no tenure.

    • #9
  10. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Where’s Drew? (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine: Augustine’s Sermons on the Psalms of Ascent

    Can’t help you there. I’m only up to Psalm 88, which is more appropriate for a sermon on Job.

    No, no. See if Augustine can help you.

    He says lovely things on the Psalms. Psalm 37, now–he probably interpreted lots of them correctly, including 37.

    Well, . . . that’s according to the original author’s intention. Maybe G-d meant more than just that, and maybe all his interpretations are correct!

    • #10
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