Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Augustine's rejection of the free-will defence: an overview of the late Augustine's theodicy

  • JESSE COUENHOVEN (a1)
Abstract

Augustine is commonly considered the greatest early proponent of what we call the free-will defence, but this idea is deeply misleading, as Augustine grew increasingly dissatisfied with the view from an early point in his career, and his later explorations of the implications of his doctrines of sin and grace led him to reject free-will theodicies altogether. As a compatibilist, however, he continued to reject the idea that God is responsible for the advent of evil. His alternative was his often misunderstood claim that the primal sin had a ‘deficient’ cause, together with a version of what Alvin Plantinga has nominated the ‘felix culpa’ approach. Thus, Augustine was actually the free-will defence's first major Christian detractor, and by the end of his career he had become its greatest critic.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Augustine's rejection of the free-will defence: an overview of the late Augustine's theodicy
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Augustine's rejection of the free-will defence: an overview of the late Augustine's theodicy
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Augustine's rejection of the free-will defence: an overview of the late Augustine's theodicy
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
References
Hide All
Adams, Marilyn McCord (1999) Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press).
Augustine, St (1953) On Free Choice of the Will. 395/6, in Burleigh, J. H. S. (ed.) Augustine: Earlier Writings (Philadelphia PA: The Westminster Press).
Augustine, St (1972) Concerning the City of God Against the Pagans. 413, Henry Bettenson (tr.) (New York NY: Penguin Books).
Augustine, St (1991) The Trinity, 400420. in John, E.Rotelle, OSA (ed.) Edmund Hill OP (tr.) The Works of Saint Augustine, vol. 5 (Brooklyn NY: New City Press).
Augustine, St (1993) Enchiridion, 423, in Schaff, Philip (ed.) Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans).
Augustine, St (1997a) The Grace of Christ and Original Sin, 418, in Rotelle OSA, John E. (ed.), Roland J. Teske SJ (tr.) The Works of Saint Augustine, I/23 (Hyde Park NY: New City Press).
Augustine, St (1997b) Nature and Grace, 415, in Rotelle, (ed.), Teske (tr.) The Works of Saint Augustine, I/23.
Augustine, St (1997c) The Punishment and Forgiveness of Sins and the Baptism of Little Ones, 411412. in Rotelle, (ed.), Teske (tr.) Answer to the Pelagians, I, The Works of Saint Augustine, I/23.
Augustine, St (1997d) The Spirit and the Letter, 412413. in Rotelle, (ed.), Teske (tr.) The Works of Augustine, I/23.
Augustine, St (1998a) Answer to Julian, 421, in Rotelle, (ed.), Teske (tr.) Answer to the Pelagians, II, The Works of Saint Augustine, I/24.
Augustine, St (1998b) Answer to the Two Letters of the Pelagians, 420421. in Rotelle, (ed.), Treske (tr.) Answer to the Pelagians, II, The Works of Saint Augustine, I/24.
Augustine, St (1998c) Marriage and Desire, 418421. in Rotelle>, (ed.), Teske (tr.) Answer to the Pelagians, II, The Works of Saint Augustine, I/24.
Augustine, St (1999a) The Gift of Perseverance, 427428. in Rotelle, (ed.), Treske (tr.) Answer to the Pelagians, IV, The Works of Augustine, I/26.
Augustine, St (1999b) The Predestination of the Saints, 427428. in Rotelle, (ed.), Treske (tr.) Answer to the Pelagians, IV, The Works of Saint Augustine. I/26.
Augustine, St (1999c) Rebuke and Grace, 426427. in Rotelle, (ed.), Treske (tr.) Against the Pelagians, IV, The Works of Saint Augustine, I/26.
Augustine, St (1999d) Unfinished Work in Answer to Julian, 430, in Rotelle, (ed.), Treske (tr.) Answer to the Pelagians, III, The Works of Saint Augustine, I/25.
Augustine, St (2001) Letters 156210. in Rotelle, (ed.), Treske (tr.) The Works of Saint Augustine, II/1.
Babcock, William S. (1988) ‘Augustine on sin and moral agency’, Journal of Religious Ethics, 16, 2855.
Baker, Lynne Rudder (2003) ‘Why Christians should not be libertarians: an Augustinian challenge’, Faith and Philosophy, 20, 360378.
Brown, Peter (1969) Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (Berkeley CA: University of California Press).
Brown, Robert F. (1978). ‘The first evil will must be incomprehensible: a critique of Augustine’, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 46, 315329.
Burnaby, John (1938) Amor Dei: A Study of the Religion of St Augustine (London: Hodder & Stoughton).
Burns, J. Patout (1980) The Development of Augustine's Doctrine of Operative Grace (Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes).
Burns, J. Patout (1988) ‘Augustine on the origin and progress of evil’, Journal of Religious Ethics, 16, 927.
Burrell, David B. (1993) Freedom and Creation in Three Traditions (Notre Dame IN: University of Notre Dame Press).
Chappell, T. D. J. (1995) Aristotle and Augustine on Freedom: Two Theories of Freedom, Voluntary Action, and Akrasia (New York NY: St Martin's Press).
Couenhoven, Jesse (2005) ‘Augustine's doctrine of original sin’, Augustinian Studies, 36, 359396.
Evans, G. R. (1982) Augustine on Evil (NY: Cambridge University Press).
Gilbert, Neal W. (1963) ‘The concept of will in early Latin philosophy’, Journal of the History of Philosophy, 1, 1735.
Greer, Rowan A. (1996) ‘Augustine's transformation of the free will defence’, Faith and Philosophy, 13, 471486.
Greer, Rowan A. (2001) Christian Life and Christian Hope: Raids on the Inarticulate (New York NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company).
Harrison, Carol (2000) Augustine: Christian Truth and Fractured Humanity (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Kirwan, Christopher (1989) Augustine (London: Routledge).
MacDonald, Scott (1999) ‘Primal sin’, in Matthews, Gareth (ed.) The Augustinian Tradition (Los Angeles CA: University of California Press), 110139.
O'Daly, Gerard (1989) ‘Predestination and freedom in Augustine's ethics’, in Vesey, Godfrey (ed.) The Philosophy in Christianity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 8598.
Plantinga, Alvin (2004) ‘Supralapsarianism, or “O felix culpa”’, in Inwagen, Peter van (ed.) Christian Faith and the Problem of Evil (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans), 125.
Rist, John M. (1969) ‘Augustine on free will and predestination’, Journal of Theological Studies, 20, 420447.
Rist, John M. (1994) Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Rogers, Katherin (2004) ‘Augustine's compatibilism’, Religious Studies, 40, 415435.
Rombs, Ronnie J. (2006) Saint Augustine and the Fall of the Soul: Beyond O'Connell and His Critics (Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press).
Smith, Jonathan Z. (ed.) (1995) The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion (San Francisco CA: HarperSanFrancisco).
Stump, Eleonore (2001) ‘Augustine on free will’, in Eleonore, Stump and Norman, Kretzman (eds) Cambridge Companion to Augustine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 124147.
TeSelle, Eugene (1994) ‘Serpent, Eve, and Adam: Augustine and the exegetical tradition’, in Joseph, SJ, Earl, SJ, and Roland, SJ (eds) Augustine: resbyter Factus Sum. Collectanea Augustiniana (New York: Peter Lang), 341361.
TeSelle, Eugene (2002) ‘Exploring the inner conflict: Augustine's sermons on Romans 7 and 8’, in Daniel, Patte and Eugene, TeSelle (eds) Engaging Augustine on Romans (Harrisburg PA: Trinity Press International), 111146.
Wetzel, James (1992) Augustine and the Limits of Virtue (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Williams, Rowan (2002) ‘Insubstantial evil’, in Robert, Dodaro and George, Lawless (eds) Augustine and his Critics (New York NY: Routledge), 105123.
Wolterstorff, Nicholas (1996) ‘Barth on evil’, Faith and Philosophy, 13, 584608.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Religious Studies
  • ISSN: 0034-4125
  • EISSN: 1469-901X
  • URL: /core/journals/religious-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×