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Rethinking Augustine's Early TheologyAn Argument for Continuity$
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Carol Harrison

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199281664

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199281661.001.0001

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(p.115) 5 Paul
Rethinking Augustine's Early Theology

Carol Harrison (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Augustine’s attempts at interpreting Paul in the mid 390s, culminating in the Ad Simplicianum, must not be read as representing a dramatic break with earlier ideas of human autonomy and the ability of the will to freely choose the good without divine help, but as affirming what he had always held: fallen humanity’s complete and utter dependence upon God’s grace to know, will, and do the good. It demonstrates that his suggestion in the Propositiones — that the free choice of faith is to be counted as a merit which is rewarded by grace — is uncharacteristic of either his earlier or later thought. By considering other works written at the same time (such as the Enarrationes in Psalmos), it is shown that there is a fundamental continuity in his approach to these difficult questions from the very beginning.

Keywords:   Paul, Romans, Ad Simplicianum, initium fidei, Galatians, Jacob, Esau, free will, grace

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