Augustine, City of God 14: an interpretative study
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date10/07/2021
Trettel, Adam Michael
This thesis provides an interpretative study of Augustine of Hippo’s City of God, book 14. The introduction explains how the thesis demonstrates that Augustine only partially endorses a model of emotional control through reason, and asserts that the key to his emotions doctrine is not to be found in an affections-passions dichotomy. It also addresses Augustine’s engagement with Platonism in the text, and, using work by Volker Drecoll, explains how the commentary-style project is able to situate City 14 within the Pelagian controversy ca. A.D. 419. The following seven chapters proceed uninterruptedly through City 14, clarifying Augustine’s argumentative aims and making use of secondary scholarship and philological tools to investigate points of fine detail. Chapter 1 explores City 14.1, his recapitulation of City 11-13 and his setting out of the initial two-cities dichotomy. Chapter 2 explores City 14.2-5, in which Augustine critiques Manichean or Platonist positions that the body is bad or evil. Chapter 3 explores City 14.6-9, and Augustine’s explication of the Biblical doctrine of emotions. Chapter 4 explores City 14.10-15, and the theme of the primal Fall and the will being ‘spontaneous’. Chapter 5 explores City 14.16-20, and Augustine’s exploration of the disobedience of the genitals in all forms of sex, including married life. Chapter 6 explores City 14.21-25, in which Augustine discusses the workings of Adam and Eve’s hypothetical sexual experience in the Pre-Fall Paradise. Chapter 7 explores City 14.26-28, in which Augustine recapitulates City 14.10-25, and comments on the workings of Providence, before hurtling towards the final dichotomy about the two cities being separated by their ‘loves’. A conclusion reviews the main points of the thesis. The thesis makes extensive use of German and French scholarship, of the CCL 48 Latin text, and the tools of the CAG 3 Augustine database; it occasionally contests the chapter divisions found in modern editions.