Augustine's Invention of the Inner Self

Augustine's Invention of the Inner Self : The Legacy of a Christian Platonist

4.61 (13 ratings by Goodreads)
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Phillip Cary argues that Augustine invented or created the concept of self as an inner space-as space into which one can enter and in which one can find God. This concept of inwardness, says Cary, has worked its way deeply into the intellectual heritage of the West and many Western individuals have experienced themselves as inner selves. After surveying the idea of inwardness in Augustine's predecessors, Cary offers a re-examination of Augustine's own writings, making the controversial point that in his early writings Augustine appears to hold that the human soul is quite literally divine. Cary goes on to contend that the crucial Book 7 of the Confessions is not a historical report of Augustine's "conversion" experience, but rather an explanation of his intellectual development over time.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 232 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 476.27g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195132068
  • 9780195132069

Review quote

... a first-rate study of the influences on the great bishop and the innovations he made to his intellectual/spiritual inheritance ... the reader is in for a treat. * Theology Today * ... well written ... commendable and definitely worth reading. * Religious Studies * ... the claims Cary makes for Augustine are unsurpassed and his judgements are of astonishing breadth. * Journal of Ecclesiastical History * Cary's case is set out step by step with a persuasive clarity, close reading of crucial texts, wide learning in respect to relevant scholarly literature, remarkably shrewd judgement on many very difficult and much controverted cruxes of interpretation. * Journal of Ecclesiastical History * ... a thought-provoking work that should be taken seriously by American evangelicals, who are often more Platonic than they realize. * Bibliotheca Sacra * Others have long said that certain notions of "self" had their origin in Augustine, but Cary's study is much more precise. He describes developments in the great bishop's thought with precision and careful documentation, and his arguments deserve a wide hearing. * Bibliotheca Sacra *
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About Philip Cary

Dr. Phillip Cary is Director of the Philosophy Program at Eastern College in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, where he is also Scholar-in-residence at the Templeton Honors College.
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Rating details

13 ratings
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