If faith is permeated with culture and culture transformed by faith - in what sense does "faith engaging culture" meet the Augustinian vision?
Theology within the Augustinian tradition informs those seeking to fulfill the human vocation to be co-creators with the Origin of Divine Wisdom. It understands theology to be part of culture and energetically accepts the challenge to render faith intelligible and meaningful in our contemporary cultural contexts, shaped by the latest advances in modern science, natural history, and critical theory.
 "Co-creatorship" is a concept from the Department's Mission Statement. "Grounded in this creative activity is the [person's] collaboration in the creating work of God: converting the Creator's 'virtual creation' into 'real creation', which means into the illumination and cultural form of the [person]" (Del Rio). This, along with the concept of self as a yet-to-be-completed project, attends to the concern for imparting a sense of "pushing into the future." The world we live in is the world we have created. It is always ambiguous—raising the question of meaning and destiny. History is a synonym for humanity. Our ultimate destiny is a divine promise, but in the meantime we are totally responsible. God acts in and through us, as Aquinas taught. As co-creators, we supply all the specifics. Eternity is somehow the fruit of history—and history is what we do. We who make history are also made by the history that has preceded us with all the "social sins" we inherit. Social Sin can be overcome only by Social Grace, which is the Spirit's empowerment to overcome the social sins of dehumanizing poverty, racism, sexism, etc. Augustine always presented the grace of the Holy Spirit as empowerment.
 Christian theology is part of culture, a form of culture-specific activity, "something that takes place within a culture" (Tanner, 63-64) and "something that human beings produce" (63). "Like all human activities, it is historically and socially conditioned; it cannot be understood in isolation from the rest of human sociocultural practices. In short, to say that theology is part of culture is just to say in a contemporary idiom that it is a human activity" (63).
 The Department of Humanities' Statement of Purpose makes note of a "particular urgency in the present age" regarding the question of meaning.
 An Augustinian approach to the encounter of faith and culture recognizes that faith is an analogical term—neither Jews nor Muslims mean exactly the same thing by it as Christians do—and then gives consideration to the specificities of "Christian faith engaging culture" and its particular symbolic expressions. "[T]here is no reason to think that theology's being set in a Christian cultural context rules out theological claims that are universal in scope … Theologians can proclaim truths with profound ramifications for the whole of human existence; they do so from within a Christian cultural context simply means that the claims they make are shaped by that context and are put forward from a Christian point of view" (Tanner, 69).
 Studying the intersection between faith and culture means interpreting faith in cultural contexts, or studying the "inculturation of faith," which is "a question of bringing culture to the faith. The effort … is to bring about the synthesis between faith and life from the synthesis between faith and culture" (Del Rio). Synthesis affects faith and culture in peculiar ways. Augustine "did not perceive our individual learning as radically changing the world. Rather, he saw it as changing how we view or understand the world together with others" (McCloskey, Cracked Pots).
 "Augustine's thinking responds globally to an overall vision, a 'cosmo-vision' of the world, humans and God" (Del Rio). His De doctrina christiana engages the great intellectual traditions of his era as "helps" to engaging the biblical text—"Augustine's concern was for finding all the tools available for a truly liberating education." His goal was "to find a unity in what we know amid division emanating from competing ideas and explanations" (McCloskey, Cracked Pots). Anything that is true, beautiful, and good points to God who is Truth, Beauty, Goodness. Obviously, Augustine did not have an understanding of "culture" as reflected in the contemporary social sciences—but no ancient did. However, for Augustine, "culture" was not contrary to the Christian faith; it proved to be an "opportunity to purify the concept of God, … an opportunity for faith" (Seco). A case can be made for building a bridge between his ancient understanding and contemporary approaches by highlighting the pursuit of the "true, beautiful, and good." In this sense, the relationship between faith and culture is hermeneutical.