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Outward SignsThe Powerlessness of External Things in Augustine's Thought$
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Phillip Cary

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195336498

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336498.001.0001

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 New Testament Sacraments and the Flesh of Christ

 New Testament Sacraments and the Flesh of Christ

(p.221) 8 New Testament Sacraments and the Flesh of Christ
Outward Signs

Phillip Cary (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Augustine belongs with Calvin in denying that external signs can confer grace, in contrast to the medieval view, shared by Luther, which makes sacraments efficacious external means of grace. Because they do not take them literally, Augustine contends, Christians are less burdened by external signs and sacraments than the Jews are. Unlike the medieval theologians, when Augustine speaks of the virtue of the sacrament he means not its power but the piety it signifies. Even the flesh of Christ, for instance in the Eucharist, has no life‐giving efficacy because it is external.

Keywords:   Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Christ, flesh, sacraments, Jews, grace, external

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