Interior Spaces: Augustine and the Mystical Tradition
Dr. James Wetzel, Villanova University
Dr. Kevin Hughes, Villanova University
Fr. Allan Fitzgerald, O.S.A. and Dr. Bernard
Augustine, the Resurrection of the Body, and the World to Come
Dr. Jonathan Yates and Fr. Francis Caponi, O.S.A.
An Intensive Seminar on the Thought and Impact of Augustine of Hippo
Augustine Comments on the Gospel of John
Fr. Allan Fitzgerald, O.S.A. Professor, Villanova University
Augustine Considers the Trinity
Dr. Johannes Brachtendorf Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen, Germany
This seminar is designed for graduate credit, continuing education units, audit, non-credit enrichment; a preparatory reading list will be supplied. For credit, along with the ten class sessions, requirements will include two evening sessions and a research paper to be completed within three months.
Augustine in the World
A Joint Seminar with Eric Gregory, Princeton University and Charles Mathewes, University of Virginia
How Augustine Reads the Old Testament
Michael Cameron, University of Portland
Description: This course will track the development of Augustine’s understanding of the Bible and practice of reading the Old Testament during the first era of his Christian life, 386-400. The era falls into three periods: 1) the time of his conversion and early work as an at-large lay religious philosopher and author (386-391); 2) the time of his work as a priest and preacher to converts and bishops (391-396); and 3) the time of his first years as bishop of Hippo (396-400). This period covers many fronts in his developing understanding of Scripture: the dispute with Manicheeism over the status of the Old Testament; early endeavors to understand the different senses of Scripture; immersion in the work of ministry and its demand for biblical preaching; an intensive re-reading of the Psalms with the help of St Paul; articulation of the hermeneutics of love in his interpretation manual, 'On Christian Teaching' (De doctrina christiana); exploration of prophecy fulfillment in Christ and Church as Scripture's center in the treatise 'Answer to Faustus' (Contra Faustum). By the end of this period Augustine has stabilized his understanding of interpretation, and settled into the hermeneutic framework that would serve him for three decades as a prolific preacher and writer.
Augustine and Paul
Thomas F. Martin, O.S.A., Villanova University
Description: This seminar will be a concise overview of Augustine’s Paulinism: his reading and interpretation of the writings of the Apostle Paul; the theological impact of Paul upon Augustine, especially as reflected in his controversies with the Manichees, the Donatists, and the Pelagians; Augustine’s encounter with Paul as a model of grace, conversion, and Christian living; Augustine’s preaching on the Apostle Paul; and finally, the lasting impact, often controversial, that “Augustine’s Paul’ has had on Western Christianity.
Augustine’s engagement with the Apostle Paul spans the entire corpus of his writings, from his very first writing to come down to us, the Contra Academicos, to the final work left unfinished by his death, the Contra Iulianum opus imperfectum. In the 5 million+ words that Augustine has left behind, the presence of Paul as both writer and model is pervasive. Rarely, however, is this Pauline presence isolated from a host of other scriptural texts, complex theological questions and controversies, pastoral concerns and the widest possible perspective that is Augustine’s vision of the Christian life. Except for three specific early attempts at commentaries on Pauline Letters, Romans and Galatians to be exact, it is no exaggeration to say that Paul is virtually everywhere—and this is the challenge in studying Augustine’s Paulinism. In order to appreciate the impact of Paul upon Augustine a range of his writings along with important Pauline topics will be considered. At the end of the seminar some attention will be given to the reception of Augustine’s Paulinism over the centuries.
Augustine on the Church
Robert Dodaro, O.S.A., Augustinianum, Rome
Course Description: In a series of lectures as well as discussions with participants, this course will treat the major themes of St Augustine of Hippo’s reflections on the theological nature, structure and functions of the Church. Attention will be given both to the historical context of Augustine’s teaching and to the interface between his teachings and contemporary theological discussions about the Church. Augustine’s treatment of the theme “the integral Christ” (Christus totus) will be presented as his key image in relation to the Church, underscoring the essential connection in his thought between Christ, the Church and the believer. Background reading from the bibliography provided by the instructor is encouraged in advance of the beginning of the course. Passages from Augustine’s writings in English translation will be supplied for some of the classes. Course participants are encouraged to raise issues for discussion.
Augustine as Trinitarian Theologian
Lewis Ayres, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
Course Description: This course will consider two interwoven themes: Augustine's practice as a theologian, and his writing on the Trinity. The major facets of Augustine's theological practice - his use of liberal arts traditions, his understanding of ascent towards God, his use of rhetoric and his understanding of how to read Scripture - are uniquely unified and explored in consideration of the theologian's highest and most difficult calling: speaking of God. The course will look at a variety of texts from different periods in his work, and throughout students will also read sections of my forthcoming book "Augustine's Trinitarian Theology" (which will be provided in electronic format). Other than purchasing the WSA translation of Augustine's "On the Trinity" all texts will be provided in a small packet).
Augustine on Genesis
J. Kevin Coyle, University of St. Paul, Ottawa
The Medieval Augustine
Kevin Hughes, Villanova University
The Sermons of Saint Augustine
Professor Thomas Martin, O.S.A., Villanova University
Course Description: Augustine of Hippo was the most prolific preacher of ancient western Christianity. After a brilliant career as a secular orator which took him to the most prestigious position one could gain in his times, that is serving as the official orator of the imperial court, he was made a priest in Hippo precisely for the task of preaching. And preach he did for almost fourty years, every Saturday and Sunday, every feastday of the year, in Advent and Lenten season every day, and often even twice and three times a day – presumably more than 8000 sermons. Only 559 of them have been transmitted to us, but they form the largest and most fascinating collection that opens a doorway into a world quite different from ours, and to the heart of people not so different after all. Augustine’s insights, his explanation of the scriptures, and the spiritual guidance he gives to his people, are oftentimes surprising, but never boring, and always very much to the point. The seminar on his "Sermons to the people" intends to unlock the treasures of Augustine’s absolutely masterful preaching to a modern audience, because even after 1600 years, it has lost nothing of its fascination and value.
Augustine on Ministry
Professor Daniel Doyle, O.S.A., Villanova University
Course Description: Augustine is one of the Christian Church’s preeminent thinkers respected because of his prolific writings and enduring influence in the western Christian world. Many of his works have become classics in the western canon. Yet the lion’s share of Augustine’s writings was authored after he was ordained a priest and later bishop of the Catholic Church. Although appreciated for his philosophical thought, his most enduring contribution lies in his theological genius shaped largely through his experience of ministry to the ordinary Christians of Hippo, his home diocese on the Mediterranean coast in North Africa. We will concentrate on a sampling of his letters and sermons which show Augustine to be first and foremost a consummate pastor who realized that effective pastoral ministry requires a deep knowledge and respect for the Word of God, courage to challenge people toward confession and humility, and a willingness to love Christ’s church in all of its humanity and brokenness as the body of Christ united mysteriously to Christ the head. We will naturally focus on the bishop’s understanding of ordained ministry as a burden of love that must be exercised in a spirit of humility and service to promote a universal communion of love.
Augustine on the Psalms
Michael Cameron, University of Portland
"Raiding Augustine’s Wine Vat: Reading his Expositions of the Psalms". Augustine’s vast and various commentary on the complete canonical Psalter, the Expositions of the Psalms (Enarrationes in psalmos), is perhaps the least read of his major works. But it crucially touches many major theological and biblical themes, especially concerning Christ and the Church, and provides essential companion reading to his more famous Confessions and City of God. The course will build up an interpretive framework for reading the Enarrationes, and especially attend Augustine’s practice of searching out the Bible’s spiritual sense and his teaching on mystical ascent. We will read selections of the work that show his early development and later maturity as a scriptural interpreter.
Evil and the Augustinian Tradition
Charles T. Mathewes, University of Virginia
“Augustine on Evil”. Augustine is famous for many things, but perhaps most broadly famous for his understanding of sin and, derivatively, of evil. In our course we will study Augustine's thought on evil and sin in a theologically systematic (as opposed to historical-developmental) basis, looking at his account of the metaphysics of evil, the psychology and history of sin, the nature of human action in a world riddled by evil and captive to sin, and, finally, the idea of the possibility and status of ultimately unredeemed evil--that is, the idea of Hell in Augustine's thought. Attention will be paid throughout to the essentially secondary character of Augustine's thinking on evil--the way, that is, that Augustine's thought about evil is always determined by prior intuitions about grace and goodness. We will look at a variety of Augustine's texts including but not limited to texts from On the Free Choice of the Will, Confessions, City of God, and various Sermons.
For further information, contact the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085; (610)519-4730 or e-mail Karen Cunningham.