Augustine, the Trinity, and the Church: A Reading of the Anti-Donatist Sermons

Hardcover | July 15, 2015

byAdam Ployd

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The legacy of Augustine of Hippo (354-430) continues to shape Western Christian language about both the Trinity and the Church, yet scholars rarely treat these two topics as related in his work. In Augustine, the Trinity, and the Church, Adam Ployd argues that Augustine's ecclesiology drewupon his Trinitarian theology to a surprising degree; this connection appears most clearly in a series of sermons Augustine preached in 406-407 against the Donatists, the rival Christian communion in North Africa.As he preached, Augustine deployed scriptural interpretations derived from his Latin pro-Nicene predecessors - but he adapted these Trinitarian arguments to construct a vision of the charitable unity of the Catholic Church against the Donatists. To condemn the Donatists for separating from the bodyof Christ, for example, Augustine appropriated a pro-Nicene Christology that viewed Christ's body as the means for ascent to his divinity. Augustine also further identified the love that unites Christians to each other and to Christ in his body as the Holy Spirit, who gives to us what he eternallyis as the mutual love of Father and Son. On the central issue of baptism, Augustine made the sacrament a Trinitarian act as Christ gives the Spirit to his own body.The book ultimately shows that, for Augustine, the unity and integrity of the Church depended not upon the purity of the bishops or the guarded boundaries of the community, but upon the work of the triune God who unites us to Christ through the love of the Spirit, whom Christ himself gives inbaptism.

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The legacy of Augustine of Hippo (354-430) continues to shape Western Christian language about both the Trinity and the Church, yet scholars rarely treat these two topics as related in his work. In Augustine, the Trinity, and the Church, Adam Ployd argues that Augustine's ecclesiology drewupon his Trinitarian theology to a surprising d...

Adam Ployd is Assistant Professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Eden Theological Seminary. His work on Augustine has appeared in Augustinian Studies, Journal of Early Christian Studies, and Scottish Journal of Theology. Ployd, a deacon in the United Methodist Church, lives in St. Louis with his wife, the Rev. Diane Kena...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.21 × 6.3 × 0.91 inPublished:July 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190212047

ISBN - 13:9780190212049

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroductionTrinitarian and Pro-NiceneThe Church and the DonatistsChapter Outline1. To Know and To LoveIntroductionKnowledge, Love, and the Purpose of PreachingThe Moral Epistemology of trin. 1The Moral Epistemology of Our Sermon SeriesThe Primary Disposition of HumilityConclusion2. The Body of ChristIntroductionThe Grammar of UnityFrom Grammar to RevelationFleshing Out the Body of ChristConclusion3. The Love of the Holy SpiritIntroductionProlegomena on LoveLove as the Source of UnityThe Spirit of LoveConclusion4. The Unity of BaptismIntroductionThe Spirit of BaptismThe Power of ChristThe Unity of the DoveConclusionConclusion: Appreciating Augustine's Trinitarian EcclesiologyBibliographySubject IndexAugustine Citation IndexBiblical Citation Index

Editorial Reviews

"In this very welcome book Adam Ployd offers an exemplary reading of Augustine's sermons as theological texts. Ployd shows us Augustine playing the music of his theology: joining, expanding, and interweaving the great themes of his theology to seduce his audience. Students of earlyChristianity, theologians, and preachers alike will appreciate this searching account of Trinitarian theology and ecclesiology in one of the most fundamental of early Christian writers." --Lewis Ayres, Professor of Catholic and Historical Theology, University of Durham