The Shared Platonist Beliefs of Augustine and Origen

From The Influence of Origen on the Young Augustine by Gyorgy Heidl:

Hinting at Col. 2:8, Augustine makes a distinction between the philosophers and, accordingly, between two worlds.18 The reasoning is strongly Origenian both in form and content. The two thinkers claim that there is another world (alius mundus – [Greek]) which is intelligible (intellectus intuetur – [Greek]), which cannot be reached by sensation (ab istis oculis remotissimus – [Greek]), which only those who are pure (sanorum intellectus – [Greek]) can behold (intuetur – [Greek]), which Christ speaks about in St. John’s Gospel (regnum meum non est de hoc mundo – [Greek]),19 and, finally, which is identical to divine Wisdom itself (sapientia – [Greek]).20

According to Augustine, the philosophy of the other world is not merely Platonism or Neoplatonism but also Christianity. In addition, it is only the latter which is capable of calling sinful souls back to the intelligible world.21 Therefore, Christianity is considered the “true” or “truest philosophy” (verissima philosophia)22 which teaches the unity of the Trinity and the Incarnation of the Divine Intellect.23

One comment

  1. Great post!
    It would wonderful to see more info on the aspect of both Gnosticism (Augustine’s pre-NeoPlatonic formations) and NeoPlatonism’s emphasis that evil is beautiful, along with its good-evil dualism, which Augustine synchronizes into his Catholic theology. And which Calvin via adoration for Augustine carries forward.

    And this becomes one of the primary issues non-Calvinst Christian’s have with Calvinism – i.e., its good-evil deity, and its historical enunciations (especially found in Jonathon Edwards) where evil is called good and good called evil.

    Thanks! :-]

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