This study traces Augustine’s ecclesiology from early writings to later works in order to demonstrate this thesis. His early thought is heavily influenced by Platonism and tends to focus on the ascent of the individual soul. After his study of Scripture in the 390s, Augustine gives priority to participation in the visible, sacramental community. In his mature thought, the church is one mystery (mysterium, sacramentum) revealed by Scripture, with visible and invisible aspects. This book explores Augustine’s exegesis of biblical images of the church, such as body of Christ, bride of Christ, city of God, and sacrifice, in order to show how the visible community is intrinsic to the mystery of the church.
Augustine and his Critics gathers twelve specialists' responses to modern criticisms of his thought, covering: personal and religious freedom; the self and God; sexuality, gender and the body; spirituality; asceticism; cultural studies; and politics.
Stimulating and insightful, the collection offers forceful arguments for neglected historical, philosophical and theological perspectives which are behind some of Augustine's most unpopular convictions.
Beginning with a look at the present rite - what it says and does not say about catechesis and the catechumenate - Father Harmless uses Augustine as a case study." Augustine's treatises on the subject and his numerous sermons to candidates, catechumens, and neophytes form the basis of a portrait of the initiation process from a pastoral as well as a theological perspective. The portrait's structure parallels the four periods of the initiation process. This portrait will be of interest and relevance to al those involved with the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults: pastors, DREs, catechists, and liturgists.
William Harmless, SJ, has focused his teaching on the history and theology of the early Church. He completed his doctorate at Boston College in 1990 and teaches at Spring Hill College in Mobile.