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  • Print publication year: 1967
  • Online publication date: March 2008

Chapter 21 - Augustine. Biographical introduction: Christianity and philosophy

Augustine's own intellectual pilgrimage began with a reading of Cicero's now lost Hortensius. In the circle of Ambrose, Simplicianus, Mallius Theodorus and others, Augustine came across a Christianity coloured by Neoplatonic interpretation. 'Christianity' and 'true philosophy' are practically synonymous terms. Augustine clearly recognizes a fundamental difference between the philosophy pursued by philosophers and the 'philosophy' adhered to by Christian believers. The key constituents of Christian belief are credal statements concerning historical occurrences and, as such, lie outside the realm of the abstract, general truths accessible to philosophical reflection. Augustine frequently discusses the relation between belief and understanding. His succinct classification of credibilia in an early work provides a suitable starting-point. Faith is something incomplete for Augustine, something that by its nature points to something else and more complete: the vision of God face to face which is the reward of faith.
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The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy
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