Thursday, 30 April 2015

Simon Nolan: Augustine in Richard FitzRalph (c.1300-1360)

This paper will address the general topic of Augustine in Richard FitzRalph (c. 1300-1360).  The influence of Augustine on FitzRalph’s writings is ubiquitous.  Augustine is his constant guide at every stage in his intellectual development and the decisive element in the shaping of many of his theological doctrines throughout his life.  FitzRalph gives his reader long and accurate quotations from a wide variety of Augustine’s works in a way which makes him an important witness to the wider fourteenth-century revival in Augustinianism.  However, there are other ways in which FitzRalph, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, considered himself to have real affinity with Augustine the Christian bishop.  In the famous ‘autobiographical prayer’ from his Summa de quaestionibus Armenorum, FitzRalph’s account of his personal conversion consciously imitates both the style and content of Augustine’s Confessions.  Recent scholarship has acknowledged the profound influence of Bishop Grandisson of Exeter on FitzRalph; some of Grandisson’s own highly annotated texts of Augustine have survived.  This paper will seek to come to some conclusions concerning the particular character of FitzRalph’s Augustinianism.

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