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Arianism and Other Heresies (The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century) [Hardcover]

By Roland J. Teske (Translator) & John E. Rotelle (Editor)
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Pages   480
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.3" Width: 6.1" Height: 1.3"
Weight:   1.85 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2003
Publisher   NEW CITY PRESS
ISBN  1565480384  
EAN  9781565480384  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
This volume contains an English translation of 6 works of Augustine of Hippo, all dealing with the general topic of heresy, along with two works by other authors to which Augustine is replying. Except for the anti-Arian works, each of the 6 works is independent of the others and has its own introduction as well as notes that aim to make the text more intelligible

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Some lesser-known works  Jun 30, 2002
Arianism and Other Heresies

This is a collection of short works by Augustine. The table of contents is as follows:

The Heresies (with Introduction and correspondence between Augustine and Quodvultdeus)

To Orosius in Refutation of the Priscillianists and Origenists (with Introduction and Orosius's "Memorandum to Augustine on the Error of the Priscillianists and Origenists")

Answer to the Arian Sermon (with Introduction and "The Arian Sermon", by an unknown author)

Debate with Maximus (with Introduction)

Answer to Maximus the Arian (with Introduction)

Answer to an Enemy of the Law and the Prophets (with Introduction)

Index of Scripture


The translations, introductions, and notes are by Roland J. Teske. The supplementary material provided by Teske is quite good. He gives every work its own introduction, which he uses primarily to provide the historical context of the work. The extensive notes which Teske provides are used mainly to identify Augustine's references to people, movements and other works. The index, interestingly, locates references by the book and chapter in the structure of the original work rather than the page number in this edition. The only caveat I would have is that I prefer notes at the bottom of each page, rather than collected together at the end of each work, which is how Teske does it.

"The Heresies", the first work in this collection, was written as a reluctant response to repeated requests by a deacon of Carthage, Quodvultdeus. Quodvultdeus wanted a short summary of all the heresies that had existed since the beginning of Christianity. Augustine replied that it had already been done, and that there was no need for him to add another, but finally gave in and wrote it. Augustine's original plan was to prepare the work in two parts - the first listing and describing the heresies and the second defining what a heresy was. Augustine completed the first part, which is heavily derivative (as Augustine had complained that it would be), but Augustine died before writing the second part, which would likely have been the more interesting of the two.

"To Orosius..." is a short work. It was written against two heretical doctrines. The first was the Priscillianist belief that man's soul is part of God, as distinct from the orthodox Christian belief that the man's soul is a creation of God. The second was the Origenist belief that all spiritual beings created by God were equal at first, and then assigned bodies according to their merits, and that all (including the devil) could be redeemed. Against the first, Augustine argued that the soul could not be part of God because the soul was changeable while God was not. Against the second, Augustine argued that such a doctrine had some absurd aspects and was not supported by scripture.

"Answer to the Arian Sermon" was written in refutation to an Arian creed. While this document no longer exists, so much of it is quoted by Augustine that a reconstruction is possible. The central Arian doctrine asserted therein and attacked by Augustine was the Arian concept of the Trinity - not as a single God, but as three different divine beings: The Father, who begot the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who proceeded from the Son. The unity of God, according to the Arian position, was a unity of opinion, not of being. Augustine's rebuttal was primarily scriptural, focusing on the Old Testament assertions that there is only one God, and that the Arian position contradicted that scripture.

"Debate with Maximus" and "Answer To Maximus" are properly taken together. Near the end of his life, Augustine was summoned to debate Maximus, an Arian bishop. The debate degenerated into speeches, in which Arian's were much the longer. The debate was to be followed by an exchange of essays, of which only Augustine's survives (it is not known whether Maximus even wrote his). The documents are not a total success from the reader's point of view. The first problem is that the level of ad hominem on both sides is rather high, and while it might have been an expected rhetorical style, it does not advance the reader's understanding of either position. The second problem is that the format resulted in documents that are somewhat repetitive and not particularly well structured. The content is similar to "Answer to the Arian Sermon".

"Answer to an Enemy..." was written in rebuttal to a document circulating that was an attack on the God of the Old Testament, holding Him to be both evil and an antagonist of Jesus Christ, who was man's saviour from that God. Scripture that held to the contrary was asserted to be Jewish fabrication. Augustine's rebuttal focused on the continuity of the Old Testament and the New, that the alleged differences in God and Jesus were the result of selective citation of scripture, and that the unity of the Old and New Testament could clearly be seen in that the Old foretold the New in prophecy. Much of the "Enemy's" line of argument is still used by enemies of Christianity today, and much of Augustine's counter-arguments retain their value in Christian apologetics.


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