The logic and metaphors in the scriptures as seen by st augustine

For example, he refers to Apuleius as "the most notorious of us Africans," [24] [28] to Ponticianus as "a country man of ours, insofar as being African," [24] [29] and to Faustus of Mileve as "an African Gentleman ". Augustine's family had been Roman, from a legal standpoint, for at least a century when he was born. There he became familiar with Latin literatureas well as pagan beliefs and practices. He tells this story in his autobiography, The Confessions.

The logic and metaphors in the scriptures as seen by st augustine

Metaphor, traditionally defined as the transference of meaning from one word to another, is perhaps the most intensely and variously studied instance of figurative language.

This is so because metaphor enjoys The logic and metaphors in the scriptures as seen by st augustine distinct primary aspects, presenting itself as 1 a form a discrete, replicable linguistic structure, conceivable as extrinsic to thought and 2 a power a cognitive operation issuing from an intrinsic and inherently creative mental faculty.

On the one hand, he treats metaphor in the context of style implicitly rendering it secondary to invention, the first of the five parts of rhetoricas deviation from the ostensible clarity of everyday language that is subject to rules of propriety.

Logic's personality

On the other, he calls metaphor "a kind of enigma" and claims that for the verbal artist "the greatest thing by far is to have a command of metaphor" because "this alone cannot be imparted by another; it is the mark of genius, for to make good metaphors implies an eye for resemblances"p.

Of the two, Aristotle chooses to emphasize the formal view—perhaps because it confirms the primacy of reason and cooperates with his systematic and pedagogical motives. From such a notion of language follows the implication that the truth and value of verbal art is measured by its fidelity to an unchanging, external, and therefore communally explicable reality.

For instance, in De oratore 55 b. Because his primary interest is pedagogically useful classification, Quintilian chooses to treat metaphor as a member of the tropes, which involve "the artistic alteration of a word or phrase from its proper meaning to another" p.

For example, while he allows that metaphor is the "commonest and by far the most beautiful of tropes," and praises it for "accomplishing the supremely difficult task of providing a name for anything" p. The Middle Ages The institutionalization of Christianity required the preservation of classical learning, including Greco-Roman ideas of metaphor.

However as Erich Auerbach points out in Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literaturethe passage from classical to Christian civilization involved a radical change in the context within which figured language was understood. Because the classical system depended upon a precise delineation and separation of elements, Auerbach sums up its emphasis as "aesthetico-stylistic.

To the early Christian fathers, figured language represented a formidable theological problem. The scriptures contain many figures and ambiguities, and Christ often chooses to teach through metaphor and parables—but the classical technology of eloquence particularly how it defines and achieves the high style, language that moves the audience to action is pagan and elite, neither holy nor humble.


In line with the classical tradition, which he resourcefully defends throughout De doctrina christiana —; On Christian doctrine as being essential for proper scriptural interpretation, Augustine — discusses metaphor as a trope. It is, however, how he defines a sign that clearly indicates the Christian break from the past: For Augustine, words the most important human signs have an intrinsic power that may exceed the limits erected by the classical doctrine of mimetic fidelity and enforced by the Greco-Roman insistence on decorum.

The Renaissance In step with sweeping material and social changes, including the Reformation and a gathering intellectual consensus that the universe and the mind similarly follow the laws of logic, a new context for understanding the relationship between thought and language was developing.

Ramus replaces the transcendent Augustinian sign with stark syllogism and calls for a thorough reorganization of the rhetorical system.

The logic and metaphors in the scriptures as seen by st augustine

From the Ramist perspective, metaphor has no place in serious discourse and, thus, the nature and tension between its two aspects is rendered moot. However, despite its antimetaphorical outlook, Ramism did not stifle either the flowering of Renaissance rhetoric or subsequent investigations of metaphor.

Because the culture of early modern Europe was, in many respects, as medieval traditional and collectively minded as it was modern, oratory and poetry were highly respected and widely practiced.

Thus Elizabethan and metaphysical metaphors, such as those invented by Shakespeare and Donne, tend to strike an organic balance among three elements: Similar to Ramus, Francis Bacon — was an enemy of Scholasticism and a champion of reason and an unadorned language capable of serving it.

In contrast to Ramus, however, Bacon was skeptical of the syllogistic process because, as he writes in The New Organon"the syllogism consists of propositions, propositions consist of words, words are symbols of notions. Beyond this he neither knows anything nor can do anything" Bacon, p.

To Bacon, then, the knowledge that comes of metaphor and other figures of speech number among the "Idols" that confuse human kind, leading us into error. In An Essay Concerning Human UnderstandingLocke holds that the foundations of thought are simple ideas, which are obtained through direct sense impressions.

Philosophy and Christian Theology (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

From this perspective, words should refer to things and the most that may be expected of language is that it further discursive "Order and Clearness. In order to get at the "true ideas upon which the inference depends," Locke advises that from language one should "strip" the "superfluous ideas" evoked by tropes and figures, and then "lay the naked Ideas on which the force of the argumentation depends, in their due order.

Of course, neoclassical thinkers, such as Voltaire — and Samuel Johnson —continued to use and productively discuss figured language—but in a context whose emphases denied relativism and forestalled the exploration of categories such as the primitive and the irrational.

Romanticism As reflected in La scienza nuova ; The new scienceVico sees language as a social construction intimately involved with cognitive development and epistemology. Because society has changed—moving from an original theological stage, through a heroic epoch, to a present-day civilized, humanistic order—so, too, have language and human nature altered.

Articulating ideas similar to those espoused by later, Romantic philosophers, such as Jean Jacques Rousseau — and Johann Gottfried von Herder —Vico postulates that, during the theological epoch which has its analog in individual cognitive developmenthumans shared a primitive, metaphorically rich language, which was later complicated and variegated through cultural pressures and the advance of rational thinking.

The Classical System

Rather than the opposite or absence of thought, figurative language demonstrates an elemental mode of thinking that Vico calls "poetic logic. To Coleridge, imagination is a creative, connective power that unites nature and the poet, whose genius is realized through "organic," original form rather than "mechanic," derivative form.

Coleridge defines poetry—and thus the exercise of its modes, such as metaphor—as a self-expressive activity whose object pleasure is opposed to that of science truth.

Although Coleridge maintains that poetry enables a view of nature superior to that obtained through scientific inquiry, his system effectively treats poetry and science as complementary opposites: In particular, Friedrich Nietzsche — unequivocally states that human beings are "indifferent" and even hostile to "pure knowledge," to the "thing in itself.

From this anti-essentialist perspective, the truths obtained through language are "illusions," members of a "worn out" "army of metaphors. To him a metaphor-free language is as impossible as a value-free science.

One crucial distinction between Romantic and twentieth-century ideas of metaphor, however, is that the latter summarily rejects transcendence, the notion that symbolic activity gives human beings access to supernatural knowledge and being.1.

Philosophy and Christian Theology.

The logic and metaphors in the scriptures as seen by st augustine

In the history of Christian theology, philosophy has sometimes been seen as a natural complement to theological reflection, whereas at other times practitioners of the two disciplines have regarded each other as mortal enemies.

From the ancients, we learn to use language in a precise way, to understand the inner logic of ideas, to discern the deeper relation between seemingly disparate concepts, to discriminate between things that appear similar, to know what is central and what peripheral.

Hades, Sheol, and Biblical Logic. There is a common objection made by heretics (link) regarding the factual existence of Hell as a place of damnation for unregenerate souls. It is the tired old argument, “The place called ‘Hell’ in Christendom is the Greek word, ‘hades.’.

Saint Augustine of Hippo (/ ɔː ˈ ɡ ʌ s t ɪ n /; 13 November – 28 August AD) was a Roman African, early Christian theologian and philosopher from Numidia whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. St. Augustine is a monumental figure in the church. His Confessions shaped Christian thinking and devotion for is one image that stands out, the story of his theft of the pears.

Augustinian Compatibilism and the Doctrine of Election | Phillip Cary -

Reflecting on this years later, Augustine takes the occasion of this theft to reflect on the nature of man, the will, and rightly ordered love. of metaphors' in Scripture in la, Question 1, article 9 of the Summa that the Christian Scriptures use metaphors to stress a negative principle of understanding, based on a firm grasp of the clear distinction between the human and the divine, the natural and the supernatural.

1 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers ofthe.

Augustine of Hippo - Wikipedia