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Smiling Through the Cultural CatastropheToward the Revival of Higher Education$
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Jeffrey Hart

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300087048

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300087048.001.0001

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Augustine Chooses Jerusalem

Augustine Chooses Jerusalem

(p.127) Chapter Six Augustine Chooses Jerusalem
Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe

Jeffrey Hart

Yale University Press

This chapter looks at the figure of Augustine, a prominent figure in Christianity that arrived chiefly through the Platonic tradition, which was most immediately expressed for him by Cicero and Plotinus. The chapter examines Augustine's inner exploration regarding the truth about the cosmos, an inner exploration of which he was the master of, and which also marks an important shift from the temper of the classical Roman world. The chapter looks particularly at Augustine's Confessions, exploring the theme of the extreme difficulties that Augustine experienced in his inner journey. It recounts his basic proposition that the mind is our clue to the nature of the cosmos because the mind is the only entity we can fully explore from within. In essence, this makes God an intellectual premise, deductible by reason, and “deeper than inmost being.” This chapter briefly discusses Augustine's inner journey, and how his background in the Platonic tradition would affect his views of Christianity.

Keywords:   Augustine, Platonic tradition, Cicero, Plotinus, cosmos, inner exploration, classical Roman world, nature of the cosmos

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