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The Theological Epistemology of Augustine's De Trinitate$
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Luigi Gioia

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199553464

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199553464.001.0001

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Augustine and Philosophers

Augustine and Philosophers

(p.40) 3 Augustine and Philosophers
The Theological Epistemology of Augustine's De Trinitate

Luigi Gioia

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines first the role played by Platonism in overcoming Augustine's initial Scepticism. Then it scrutinizes the actual impact of Augustine's optimistic declarations about Platonism on knowledge of the Trinity. It appears that what Augustine most values in Platonism is its ethical potential, mainly (though not always) with an apologetical view in mind. Resorting to philosophy is part of an exercise in which faith has the upper hand. It would be a mistake, however, to think that Augustine's pessimistic attitude towards philosophy is the consequence of disillusion. On the contrary, he seems to have been always unable to suppress an overpowering tendency towards a more positive practical attitude towards philosophy than his declarations might lead us to think. The fundamental reason for this apparent ambivalence is that his critical attitude towards philosophy was above all the consequence of positive theological truths, namely the Incarnation, the unicity of Christ's mediation, and above all his death on the cross.

Keywords:   Platonism, Scepticism, knowledge, apologetical, exercise, philosophy

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