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By Ronnie J. Rombs

Augustine's realizing of the beginning of the soul and the character of its fall looms as essentially the most vital and debatable questions between Augustinian students on account that Robert J. O'Connell first started publishing at the subject. O'Connell argued that Augustine embraced Plotinus's doctrine that the soul existed ahead of the physique and purely fell into physically existence because the results of sin. this kind of place, despite the fact that, is essentially incompatible with Christian anthropology: physically existence is intrinsically corrupted; actual life is regrettable. The supposition that the main influential Christian theologian after St. Paul maintained any such place generated sharp department among students who have been confident by way of O'Connell and people who weren't. A scholarly consensus at the topic has no longer but developed.

Saint Augustine and the autumn of the Soul: past O'Connell and His Critics offers first a severe exam of O'Connell's theses in a readable precis of his paintings that spanned over thirty years. Secondly, a diachronic learn of Augustine's writings strains the advance of his knowing of the soul's fall, mapping the boundaries of Plotinus's impact.

The examine acknowledges the level to which Augustine embraced Plotinus's ontology and anthropology and the purpose at which he deserted Plotinus. The younger Augustine used to be considerably encouraged by means of Plotinus, and there's vast proof that he held a Plotinian doctrine of the soul's fall. yet because the anthropological implications that stick to from the Christian doctrine of construction ex nihilo turned obvious to him, Augustine departed from Plotinus. Augustine finally took the soul's fall to be an ethical lapse, holding Plotinus's imagery vocabulary as a manner of expressing a psychology of sin, no longer an ontological fall.

Augustinian students and scholars in theology and patristics will locate the textual content a useful source at the topic.

Ronnie J. Rombs is assistant professor of theology at St. Joseph Seminary collage in Louisiana. he's the coeditor of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.


"This e-book bargains with an incredible factor, one who Robert J. O'Connell made his life's paintings in his learn of Augustine. He believed that the subject of the fallen soul is on the heart of Augustine's notion, and Ronnie J. Rombs competently provides that the reason is, of the significance of salvation to Augustine. The learn is definitely written--complex, versatile, and refined. there isn't any comparable publication within the field."--Eugene TeSelle, Professor Emeritus, Vanderbilt University

"Rombs makes a huge contribution to Augustinian stories by way of his activity to explain O'Connell's place and to qualify it, in particular via distinguishing the cosmogenic, ontological, and psychological/moral senses of the autumn of the soul."--Roland J. Teske, S.J., Marquette University

"[A]ny pupil of Augustine will locate this paintings illuminating for its research of O'Connell's legacy and for Rombs' personal sifting via a lot of the fourth- and fifth-century questions about the human soul after which displaying how Augustine got here to appreciate the character of the soul, its foundation, and its sanctification in Christ." -- David Meconi, S.J., Theological Studies

"Rombs' little ebook is split into elements. the 1st offers a useful provider to scholars in its lucid and sympathetic account of the improvement of O'Connell's very important and rolling arguments that, whereas usually tortured, looked as if it would sweep every thing in entrance of them. For this by myself the e-book is worthy having. yet then, within the moment part, Rombs is going a lot extra and joins the various critics of O'Connell who've argued for a much less uncompromisingly Plotinian realizing of Augustine's paintings. right here he strikes the scholarly argument ahead at the very least one notch." -- Colin Starnes, Philosophy in Review

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