Monday, September 3, 2007

A quick note on a previous post

I have been ruminating on Saturday's post since Saturday night. I make no apology for over-simplifying matters theological because I actually want people to read my blog. Even in being a bit overly simplistic, it is important not to be inaccurate, or to misrepresent. I do not think I did that on Saturday. Nonetheless, I feel that I need to make a disclaimer about my post on the theological anthropologies of Sts. Augustine & Thomas Aquinas. While I do believe their views about the human person are not as disparate as they are often made to seem, there are some unavoidable disparities. Thomas writes in a straightforwardly systematic manner and is optimistic regarding the orientation of the human person to the good, to God. Augustine, on the other hand, being a bishop and pastor, writes in a far less systematic and less optimistic manner. This is not to insist that Augustine is incoherent in the least. He is remarkably coherent and cohesive, especially given the length of time across which he wrote and the sheer volume and diversity of his writings.

I am a stickler for making important distinctions and recognizing differences. At the end of the day, Augustine's view of the human person is more consonant with my experience as a human being and my experience of other human beings, as well as the moral complexity of human life and the persistent problem of evil, that is such a stumbling block for so many. Put simply, it is crucial not to read Augustine as being a proponent of total depravity. This is precisely the point of convergence between these two giants I want to set in relief.

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