Thursday, 30 June 2011

Emily Cain - Knowledge Seeking Wisdom: A New Structure for Augustine's De Trinitate

Many scholars have proposed various structures for Augustine’s seminal work De Trinitate from Neil Ormerod’s structure based on Lonergan’s realms of meaning to Edmund Hill’s chiastic structure.  While each structure highlights a different aspect of the work, no proposed structure has yet situated the work within Augustine’s greater corpus, so the need remains for another structure to accomplish this goal. This paper proposes a new structure for Augustine’s great work De Trinitate that stems from the pattern of knowledge seeking wisdom.  Building on the experience of his own conversion, Augustine here presents the quest for the Trinity in terms of knowledge (scientia) seeking wisdom (sapientia).  In doing so, Augustine also designs the structure of the book around the same theme with three interjections of faith, hope, and love.  Not only does this clearly link to his own conversion as presented in Confessions, but it also mimics his theory of signs.  Like Edmund Hill’s chiastic model for the book, this proposed structure is parabolic, but also situates the work within Augustine’s life as well as his greater corpus.

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