Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Ron Haflidson: (WS) 'We Shall Become that Seventh Day': Augustine on Deification and Rest'Paper for Deification in the Latin Patristic Tradition

A few decades ago, Augustine's theology of deification was widely considered only an incidental topic of interest. Thanks partly to Gerald Bonner's 1986 article, this has changed. Most recently David Meconi's The One Christ, published in 2013, offers the first-full length study of this subject. One of the great strengths of Meconi's book is how he situates his detailed exposition of the 18 times Augustine uses the term deificare within an impressively comprehensive account of Augustine's soteriology. In this paper, I will build on Meconi's work by exploring how Augustine's first use of the term deificare in Letter 11 anticipates a continuous concern of his soteriology that has yet to be adequately considered. In that early letter, Augustine understands deification to include attaining a state of rest or leisure (deificari in otio). While some scholars have argued that this phrase was Platonic in origin and without distinctly Christian content, Roland Teske has demonstrated that in the contemporaneous work On True Religion, Augustine identifies such rest as a result of Christ's saving work. Further, Teske also notes how Augustine details such rest comes by the ordering of one's loves, a central feature of his ethics. Thus by explicating the consistent connection between salvation and rest, I will demonstrate how Augustine understands the Christian's sanctification to involve an altered relation to time, which has significant ethical implications in this life, and is finally consummated in eternal Sabbath rest.

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