Augustine on war and military service by Wynn, Phillip Gerald; Saint Bishop of Hippo. Augustine

By Wynn, Phillip Gerald; Saint Bishop of Hippo. Augustine

Did our smooth figuring out of simply conflict originate with Augustine? during this sweeping reevaluation of the facts, Phillip Wynn uncovers a nuanced tale of Augustine's suggestions on battle and armed forces provider, and provides us a extra entire and intricate photo of this crucial subject. Deeply rooted within the improvement of Christian idea this reengagement with Augustine is vital analyzing

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In what follows, as much as anything I am trying to capture a mentality and an attitude. Such an approach is necessary, because nothing like a sustained intellectual engagement with the question of how Christianity should regard war and military service exists until centuries after Augustine’s death. Significantly, no treatise was written specifically on the subject for the first thousand years of Christianity’s history, and for some time thereafter. Why? Indeed, anyone who confidently wades into the mass of Christian literature of the first millennium seeking to discover an authoritative early Christian attitude to war is bound for a frustrating dead-end.

One overwhelming fact alone points clearly to this conclusion: Migne’s Patrologiae Latinae devotes twelve large tomes to Augustine, more than any other writer. . In this ocean of words the just war is mentioned in but a few scattered references. . The just war theory is clearly a minor aspect of Augustine’s work. [87] A comparison of a 1988 remark and a similar comment eight years later seems to reveal a subtle though important shift. Whereas Lenihan had earlier written that later medieval theologians had justified Christian participation in war “by ferreting, out of context, small proof texts from Augustine,”[88] a few years later he wrote “that the Augustinian just war was ferreted out centuries later by the decretists who sought patristic approval of their doctrine,”[89] thus seemingly emphasizing more the presence of a coherent Augustinian idea to be ferreted out.

The principles of this doctrine are found in the works of St. Augustine, particularly in The City of God and in the book Contra Faustum. [40] In this work Vanderpol attempted a summary statement of his contention that a Christian doctrine of war had always existed in the church, a doctrine systematized by various medieval scholastics, who in turn had based their ideas of just war on the writings of Augustine. [41] He then proceeded to a historical survey, in chronological order, that set out how that doctrine had manifested itself in successive Christian writings.

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