Trinity and Church in Augustine's Anti-Donatist Sermons (406-407) Open Access

Ployd, Adam Douglas (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/wd375w95s?locale=en
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Abstract

This dissertation investigates the relationship between Augustine's trinitarian theology and his anti-Donatist ecclesiology. To do so, I focus on a series of forty-one sermons that Augustine preached between December 406 and mid-summer 407, including the enarrationes on the Psalms of Ascent (119-133), the first sixteen tractates on the Gospel of John, and the ten tractates on the First Epistle of John. My primary argument is that Augustine uses pro-Nicene principles and exegesis to construct his understanding of the church against the Donatists. In doing so, Augustine depicts a church whose identity and integrity are grounded in the life and work of the triune God rather than in the relative moral purity of human bishops and the closely guarded boundaries of the visible communion. To prove this, I place Augustine's exegesis in the context of his Latin pro-Nicene predecessors, especially Hilary of Poitiers and Ambrose of Milan. From this tradition Augustine adapts scriptural readings that shape his understanding of the church as the Body of Christ united by the love of the Holy Spirit that is given in baptism. For Augustine, the church is the locus for the reformation of thought and desire that is integral to his trinitarian epistemology, and this reformation is accomplished because the church, united to the complex grammatical subject of Christ, rises with Christ through his humanity to sight of his divinity. The church is united to itself and to Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit who, as the mutual charity of Father and Son, gives to the church what he eternally is, the Spirit of unity. Finally, the church receives the Holy Spirit through baptism, which is the eternal work of Christ the Son rather than of the human bishop. This is a manifestation of the principles of common and inseparable operations that reflect the unity of power and nature in the Trinity. By deploying these pro-Nicene principles and exegesis, Augustine constructs an image of the church as united through the work of the Trinity in such a way that the life of the church is a type of participation the life of the Trinity.

Table of Contents

Tables of Contents

Abbreviations 1 Introduction 3

Chapter 1: To Know and To Love 18

Introduction 18 I. Knowledge, Love, and the Purpose of Preaching 20 II. The Moral Epistemology of trin. 1 24 III. The Moral Epistemology of Our Sermon Series 32 Training the Mind 33 Reforming Desire 42 IV. The Primary Disposition of Humility 49 Conclusion 65

Chapter 2: The Body of Christ 67

Introduction 67 I. The Grammar of Unity--Christ and His Body 70 Prosopology and Fourth-Century Theology 71 Prosopology in the Psalms of Ascent 77 en. Ps. 122.1--The Descending and Ascending Christ 81 II. From Grammar to Revelation 90

1 Cor 15:24 and the Christological Epistemology if trin. 1 90

The Epistemological Reading of John 3:13 95

III. Col 3:1-4 and Acts 9:4----Fleshing Out the Body of Christ 103

Col 3:1-4--The Mind Risen with Christ 106 Acts 9:4--Learning to Love Christ's Body 111 Conclusion 122

Chapter 3: The Love of the Holy Spirit 125

Introduction 125

I. en. Ps. 121.10-13--Prolegomena on Love 128

II. Acts 4:32a--Love as the Source of Unity 134 Latin Pro-Nicene Readings of Acts 4:32a 135

Augustine's Pro-Nicene Reading of Acts 4:32a beyond Our Sermon Series 139

Io. ev. tr. 14.9--The Unity of the Trinity as the Summit of Charity 143

en. Ps. 132--Monastic Unity and the Oil of Charity 146

III. Rom 5:5--The Spirit of Love 153 Ambrose's Pro-Nicene Reading of Rom 5:5 154 f. et symb. 9.19-10.21--The Spirit as Love and the Church that Loves 158 Io. ev. tr. 9.7-8--The Spirit as Eternal and Redemptive Love 165 en. Ps. 133--The Spirit of Ecclesial Love 169 ep. Io. 7.5-11--The Trinitarian Unity of Divine and Ecclesial Love 171 Conclusion 178

Chapter 4: The Unity of Baptism 181

Introduction 181 I. The Spirit of Baptism--John 20:22-23 vs. John 1:33 183

II. The Power of Christ--Io. ev. tr. 5 and the Validity of Baptism 194

Io. ev. tr. 5--Christ's Potestas 196

Baptismal Potestas in North African Theology 198 Potestas in Nicene and Pro-Nicene Theology 201

The Inseparable Potestas of Christ's Baptism with the Holy Spirit 208

III. The Unity of the Dove--Io. ev. tr. 6 and the Efficacy of Baptism 213

The Dove, the Church, and Baptism in Cyprian and the Donatists 215

The Moaning of the Dove 220 The Simplicity of the Dove 228 Conclusion 234

Conclusion: Defining Augustine's Trinitarian Ecclesiology 236

Bibliography 250

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