Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A few thoughts on Augustine

This week I'm reading Augustine's De Trinitate. It's my first sustained engagement with a primary text of Augustine (I know, terrible of me). Actually, that's not quite true, I've read a few shorter pieces quite recently. The translation I'm reading from is by Edmund Hill, O.P. from the "A translation for the 21st century" series. It's a very good reminder of the need for continual re-translations of patristic texts. While I can read the ANF/NPNF texts fine enough, they are slow-going and cumbersome. Modern translations get us into the thought of the ancient writer more efficiently by far.

There's a great end(chapter-)note that reads like this:
“This is the Latin rendering of a very obscure saying in the Greek text, which, whatever it means, almost certainly does not mean this”. It's regarding the beginning which also speaks to us, referring to Jn 8:25.

I'm only 3 books in, but I'm quickly gaining a deep appreciation for Augustine's thought. It's very logical and he proceeds in sequential order. His epistemic humility is also evident, and that is quite endearing. I realise things get a lot more complicated later in the work, but I'll reflect on them when I get there.

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