‘Admonition of the Praise of God in Augustine’

(2000) Naoki Kamimura, ‘Admonition of the Praise of God in Augustine’ (in Japanese), Studies in Medieval Thought, 42 (Japanese Society of Medieval Philosophy) 55–66.
Originally delivered at the Japanese Society of Medieval Philosophy 48th Annual Conference, held at Eichi University, Amagasaki, on 13 November 1999.
Abstract
Augustine reflects on the limits of human perfectibility from his Stoic attempt to describe the convergence of virtue, self-determination, and happiness. His early dialogue the De libero arbitrio concerns with these questions, and admonishes to praise of God persistently in the latter half of book II and book III. In this article, we discuss the repetition of this admonition. Much of our analysis, focusing on the grounds for his admonition, follows Augustine through the knot of the ontological stages of being, and shows that his departure from Stoic sensibility coincides with his conceptual innovation of will. The denouement draws our attention to the conduit of his desire for God. That is the conversion, the completion of the deed of God’s mercy.
(1) The admonition is accompanied by two headings of the analysis of being. One heading is positive, edification ascending towards true being. The other is destructive, falling towards impossible nothingness. An obstacle to praise of God appears in the defective nature of the admonished, that is ignorance, difficulty, and mortality caused by original sin.
(2) That the soul excels is in the possession of the power of judgement, which allows reforming itself with the help of God. This judgement differentiates three aspects of the soul’s duties. First, the soul knows that it should ask for knowledge where it is hindered by ignorance. Second, conquering the difficulty, a way out of temporal things reveals that the expectation of things to come is preferable to the search into things past. Third aspect that is imploring its Creator for help in its struggle supports these two former, then to give praise to God is understood as the declaration of the soul’s anticipation of the perfectibility in the future. Soul takes itself as a whole and opens the door to communicate with God.
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