Inner Grace: Augustine in the Traditions of Plato and Paul by Phillip CarrInner Grace: Augustine in the Traditions of Plato and Paul by Phillip Carr

Inner Grace: Augustine in the Traditions of Plato and Paul

byPhillip Carr

Hardcover | March 19, 2008

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Augustine's epochal doctrine of grace is often portrayed as a break from his earlier Platonism, but in Inner Grace Phillip Cary argues it should be seen instead as the way Augustine's Platonism developed as he read the apostle Paul. Augustine's concept of grace as an inner gift that moves,turns and strengthens the will from within requires a Platonist conception of the soul's inner relation to the Good. What he adds to this conception is that grace is needed not only for the mind to see God but also for the will to turn away from lower goods and love God as its eternal Good, andeven for it to choose faith in Christ, the temporal road by which the soul journeys to God. Thus, over the course of Augustine's career the scope of the soul's need for grace expands outward from intellect to love and then to faith. At every stage, Augustine insists that divine grace does not compromise or coerce the human will but frees, helps, and strengthens it--precisely because grace is not an external force but an inner gift of delight. But as his polemic against the Pelagians develops, increasingly more is attributed tograce and less to the power of free will. At the end of his career, this results in an explicit doctrine of predestination, according to which it is ultimately God who chooses who shall be saved. Behind predestination, therefore, is divine election, which Augustine understands as God choosing somerather than others for salvation. This contrasts with the Biblical doctrine of election, Cary argues, in which some are chosen for the blessing of others: e.g., Israel for the nations and Christ for the world. In this Biblical doctrine, grace and blessing are external rather than inner gifts becausethey always come to us from others outside us.

About The Author

Phillip Carr is a Professor of Philosophy at Eastern University, St. Davids, Pennsylvania.

Details & Specs

Title:Inner Grace: Augustine in the Traditions of Plato and PaulFormat:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:March 19, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195336488

ISBN - 13:9780195336481

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Platonist Grace: Inner Help to LoveWisdom and VirtueConversion and PurificationBeauty and LoveFree Will against AutonomyFrom Fear to LoveAgainst Augustine on the JewsDialogue with PlatoThe Widening Scope of Inner HelpConnections of Love2. Pauline Grace: Human Will and Divine ChoiceDivine Good WillThe Inward-Turning WillWilling Becomes DifficultFour StagesThe Place of MeritEarly InconsistencyJacob and EsauThe Call to FaithAssent or Delight?No External Cause of GraceReading Paul's Admonition3. Anti-Pelagian Grace: Clarifying PrevenienceThe Shape of ControversyThe Grace of ParticipationUncovering Pelagian EvasionsAugustine's EvasivenessThe Missing Piece of the PuzzleTaught by God4. Predestined Grace: Conversion and ElectionThe Grace of BeginningsConverting Paul's WillCoercion on the Damascus RoadThe Experience of Grace in DisarrayGod Turns HeartsProblems of PerseveranceBiblical ElectionConclusionAppendix: Phases of Augustine's Anti-Pelagian WritingsAbbreviationsNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Phillip Cary's Inner Grace and Outward Signs together constitute a fascinating account of how Augustine's Platonism shaped his account of grace, of faith, of language, of sacraments indeed, of almost everything he ever wrote about. Cary's discussion was full of surprises for me; the Augustine that emerges is much more strange and much more creative than the Augustine I thought I knew. Many readers won't like this new Augustine; Cary's treatment will be controversial. But it is so remarkably original and so thoroughly documented that no Augustine scholar will be able to ignore it." --Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University; Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia "Philip Cary's new books, Inner Grace and Outward Signs, are major contributions to scholarship on Augustine. They are also controversial ones, since the upshot of one of his central arguments is that Augustine not only doesn't but can't have any genuine sacramental theology because on his assumptions there can be no intimate and transformative causal connection between material objects and inner states. Cary supports this argument with learning, wit, and intellectual passion. It deserves what it will undoubtedly receive, which is much lively discussion." --Paul J. Griffiths, Duke Divinity School "Cary's study of the Platonic and Pauline roots of the Augustinian theology of grace has expertly clarified Augustine's thinking on grace and has deftly disentangled the rather convoluted movement of its development. Contrary to many Augustine scholars, Cary rightly emphasizes the continued influence of Platonism onAugustine's theology. He offers his readers a thoughtful analysis of where Augustine's doctrine of election went wrong and suggests ways in which various forms of Western and Eastern Christianity have presented corrections to certain factors in Augustine's theology of grace. Cary offers us a fresh, fascinating, and challenging reading of Augustine's later thought." --Roland Teske, Donald J. Schuenke Professor of Philosophy, Marquette University