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Religions 2016, 7(9), 114;

“None Come Closer to Us than These:” Augustine and the Platonists

Department of Religious Studies, Saint Michael’s College, Colchester, VT 05439, USA
Academic Editor: J. Warren Smith
Received: 28 July 2016 / Revised: 22 August 2016 / Accepted: 26 August 2016 / Published: 1 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plato among the Christians)
Full-Text   |   PDF [209 KB, uploaded 1 September 2016]


This paper reflects on the importance of pagan Platonism to one of its most sympathetic Christian interpreters, Augustine of Hippo. Its goal is to uncover what Platonism meant to Augustine and why it mattered so much to him throughout his long career. To that end the essay begins by considering salient developments in the study of Platonism over the last fifty years, with particular attention to several crucial shifts in interpretation and consequent changes in its contemporary representation. It then follows those leads into the study of Augustine, considering closely how he himself described the import of Platonism and what it contributed to his development. Brief consideration is first given to Augustine’s earliest works. Attention then turns to his definitive treatment of the conversionary power of Platonism in Book VII of the Confessions and his later assessment of Platonism in City of God VIII. That inquiry will offer a basis to conclude with some final observations on the interpretation of Platonism in the study of Augustine. View Full-Text
Keywords: Platonism; Augustine of Hippo; monotheism; transcendence; Catholic Christianity Platonism; Augustine of Hippo; monotheism; transcendence; Catholic Christianity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Kenney, J.P. “None Come Closer to Us than These:” Augustine and the Platonists. Religions 2016, 7, 114.

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