“But the goal of our instruction is love. . . .” 1 Timothy 1:5

What is the purpose of reading? That is, what is the ultimate end or telos of an encounter between ourselves as human beings and literary texts? A variety of answers from various traditions could no doubt be marshalled in response to this query. St. Augustine, for example, made a very provocative suggestion regarding the final end of reading. On the biblical basis of the ultimate and penultimate commandments, the great Church father believed that the act of reading and interpreting the Scriptures must not rest contentedly at any roadside park until it arrived all the way at its final destination. In reading the Bible, he argued that we travel on a road that leads not to aesthetic pleasure, or mere knowledge, or to moral action, or even to Christian convictions, but rather to the destination of love. As he admonished readers of the Scriptures so eloquently, “…you should take pains to turn over and over in your mind what you read, until your interpretation of it is led right through to the kingdom of charity.”1 To love God and one’s neighbor is the essence of the Scriptures, and thus the task of interpreting them must be pursued in order that the love of God and others is realized. Thus, reading the Bible, according to St. Augustine, must be dominated by an agapic telos.

Given the contemporary commotion that governs literary and critical theory regarding the ins and outs of the reading process, and in light of this ancient but provocative Augustinian thesis, the purpose of this paper is to reflect upon St. Augustine’s conception of “agapic reading” or his hermeneutic “principle of charity” especially as he presented it in his magisterial De Doctrina Christiana (DDC = On Christian Doctrine/Teaching). On the basis of this conception, our goal will be to investigate how we might (re)learn how to read the Bible, as well as other literature, in order to enhance love for God and our neighbors.

Reading played a significant role in Augustine’s own life and education, especially as he has recounted it for us in his Confessions.2 Indeed, as he put it, “I was sent to school to learn to read.”3 His search for wisdom was launched by the reading Cicero’s Hortensius, included a disappointing first encounter with the text of Scripture, and culminated in his response to the voice of a child, as if it were the command of God, to “Take up and read; take up and read.”4 At this prompt, his chance selection of a text by the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:13-14 was the key that opened the door of faith for him. As Augustine himself put it, “No further would I read; nor needed I: for instantly at the end of that sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away.”5 Augustine thus came to believe that the Holy Scriptures contained the true philosophy, and at long last, his own unhappy mind and heart had come to find its rest, not in the books of the Artes Liberales, but rather in “the solid, intractable mass of the Christian Bible.”6 No wonder, then, that the act and art of reading was of primary importance to St. Augustine throughout his life and career.

Some nine years after his conversion, at the request of Aurelius, the bishop of Carthage, Augustine as the newly appointed bishop of Hippo began work in the mid 390s on a treatise on education in Christianity for young clergymen. The result was his famous De Doctrina Christiana whose scope includes the entire Christian community as a body of readers, either as clergy or educated laypersons, teaching them how to read the Bible rightly, and how to communicate it effectively to others.7 But even the interpretation and communication of the words of Scripture by layman or clergyman are not ends in themselves. Augustine is concerned in De Doctrina Christiana to transcend mere reading proficiency and rhetorical prowess to focus on the ultimate goal of these activities which is nothing other than love. Indeed, in its four books, Augustine lays out the ontology and priority of love in book one, provides instruction on how to interpret the biblical text which is revelatory of love in books two and three, and concludes in book four with a discourse on how to proclaim the truth in love so that more people can discover what constitutes their highest good and true happiness in the love of God. In DDC, charity is clearly the touchstone in the reading and preaching of Scripture.

Augustine arrives at this central conviction in a fascinating and rather complex way, and it turns on his theory of signs, or what today we call “semiotics.” According to Augustine, the introduction of sin into the world brought about a radical change in the divine-human relationship, for it resulted in “a fall from direct knowledge into indirect knowledge through signs.”8 Though in a fallen world, God might be mystically discerned in glimpses of direct awareness, such experiences were quite rare and exceptionally fleeting. Something clear and distinct was needed to remedy this unfortunate epistemic situation, and for Augustine, the solution was to be found in the Scriptures. The chasm of sin and darkness which separated God from direct human consciousness had been graciously bridged through the Bible as the repository of divine revelation ensconced in human words. As Augustine put it succinctly, “For the meantime, let the Scriptures be the countenance of God.”9 But as important as the Bible was for Augustine, he believed it to be only a textual means to a spiritual end. To understand Augustine’s basis for the agapic reading of the Scriptures in greater depth, we must examine his theory of signs and things just a bit more closely.

Augustine champions what might profitably be called an “instrumental” or “referential” view of signs and words. At the outset of the first book of DDC, Augustine writes: “All teaching is either about things or signs; but things,” he says, “are learned about through signs.”10 Some things are just things in the strictest sense of the word, but other things can also be used for the purpose of signification (e. g., wood, stone, animal).

Furthermore, there are yet other things such as signs or words which are only used for the purpose of signification. “Nobody, after all,” says Augustine, “uses words except for the sake of signifying something.” From this discussion, Augustine makes it quite plain what he means by signs, namely “those things…which are used in order to signify something else. Thus every sign is also a thing, because if it is not a thing at all it is simply nothing. But not every single thing is also a sign.”11 Thus, for Augustine, signs embodied in words are instruments of signification. As means of reference, signs are always inferior to the thing that they represent. What really counts are the truth and meaning that are communicated through the instrumentality of signs.

Signs are indeed a specie of things, and thus Augustine proceeds to an discussion about “things,” reserving further scrutiny of “signs” to the second and third books of DDC. What is upper most in Augustine’s mind in the remainder of book one is an intense look at which things (including signs) are to “enjoyed,” and which things are to be “used.” In introducing this topic, he writes, “So then, there are some things which are meant to be enjoyed, others which are meant to be used, yet others [human beings] which do both the enjoying and the using.”12 Human happiness itself depends on this careful distinction between things to be enjoyed and used. Thus he continues: “Things that are to be enjoyed make us happy; things which are to be used help us on our way to happiness, providing us, so to say, with crutches and props for reaching the things that will make us happy, and enabling us to keep them.”13 But what exactly does he mean by this distinction between enjoyment and use? “To enjoy something,” he avers, “is to hold fast to it in love for its own sake. To use something is to apply whatever it may be to the purpose of obtaining what you love—if indeed it is something that ought to be loved.”14 Things to be enjoyed have an intrinsic value and are worthy of our love. Things to be used have an extrinsic value, and must be employed only as a means of possessing what one loves.

Hence, in assembling these ideas, we conclude that for Augustine the things to be enjoyed should be loved for their own sake as intrinsic goods, and are the source of human happiness. Things to be used, on the other hand, must be employed as means to obtaining what we love for its own sake, and are the servants of human happiness. Now in the subsequent discussion, Augustine makes it patently clear that one thing and one thing only is to be enjoyed, and that is God: “The things that are to be enjoyed are the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, in fact the Trinity, one supreme thing, and one which is shared in common by all who enjoy it.”15 Everything else is to be loved or used for the sake of the enjoyment of God: “Among all the things there are, therefore, those alone are to be enjoyed which we have noted as being eternal and unchanging, while the rest are to be used, in order that we may come at last to the enjoyment of the former sort.”16

Now the upshot of all of this for present purposes is this: for Augustine the Bible as a book of linguistic signs must be seen as a set of things that are not to be loved or enjoyed for their own sake, but rather used as a means to the end of knowing and thereby enjoying and loving God. Biblical signs and words are servants of our true happiness which is found exclusively in the eternal, unchanging divine Trinity. Thus the Scriptures themselves are subordinated to an ontology of love which clearly specifies which things are to be enjoyed and which are to be used. Biblical signs are things to be used, and it is the being of God alone which is signified by those signs that is to be enjoyed. This love, as Augustine understands it, constitutes the fulfillment of the law and is the telos of reading the divine scriptures.

The chief purpose of all that we have been saying in our discussion of things is to make it understood that the fulfillment and end of the law [cf. Rom. 13:10; 1 Tim. 1:5] and all the divine scriptures is to love the thing which must be enjoyed [God] and the thing which together with us can enjoy that thing (since there is no need for a commandment to love oneself).17

 

Indeed, as Augustine continues, all things with the exception of God but including the Bible, are to be loved only in the way that we might love a car because it takes us to our destination. It is only because of the value of the end that we develop an appropriate, but limited appreciation for the means that gets us there. Everything God has created must be used as transportation to the destination of love.

To enlighten us and enable us, the whole temporal dispensation [including the provision of the Scriptures] was set up by divine providence for our salvation. We must make use of this, not with a permanent love and enjoyment of it, but with a transient love and enjoyment of our journey, or of our conveyances, so to speak, or any other expedients whatsoever…, so that we love the means of transport only because of our destination.18

Love for God, therefore, and a love for those who share in this love of God becomes the only legitimate goal in reading the Bible. This is Augustine’s famous “principle of charity,” or what I am calling “agapic reading.” Indeed, Augustine makes this kind of reading the final hermeneutical test, for if one’s interpretation of the text does not enhance love for God and our neighbor, then one has not read the Scriptures rightly. “So anyone,” Augustine asserts, “who thinks that he has understood the divine scriptures or any part of them, but cannot by his understanding build up this double love of God and neighbor, has not yet succeeded in understanding them.”19 Indeed, he goes so far as to suggest that an incorrect reading of the biblical text that nonetheless leads to a cultivation of this love is not as serious as we might suspect. Despite the misinterpretation, one may still arrive at the proper destination (love), even though the way of getting there was fallacious (the misreading). Still it is best that the reader discover the proper means (correct interpretation) to the proper end lest this practice in the long run eventually prove to be spiritually misleading if not destructive.

Anyone who derives from them an idea which is useful for supporting this love but fails to say what the writer demonstrably meant in the passage has not made a fatal error, and is certainly not a liar…. If…he is misled by an idea of the kind that builds up love, which is the end of the commandment, he is misled in the same way as a walker who leaves his path by mistake but reaches the destination to which the path leads by going through a field. But he must be put right and shown how it is more useful not to leave the path, in case the habit of deviating should force him to go astray or even adrift.20

Though a lost traveler may arrive at her destination by a circuitous path, still it is better to get there by an accurate reading of the map. Analogously, how much better it is, according to Augustine, to reach the goal of agapic reading by the right interpretive path than to get there accidentally. Nonetheless, the important factor for Augustine is this: “The major object of enjoyment and love is the Trinity—not the text,” else one succumb to what might be called “a semiotics of idolatry.”21

How different this is from contemporary reading theories which venerate signs, especially in the thinking of Jacques Derrida. He remains unconvinced that human beings can access reality linguistically, or that knowledge of a prelinguistic, preconceptual world is even possible. If there is no accessible center, or if there is a total absence of “God, the Idea, the World Spirit, the Self, substance, matter and so on,” then everything is language and the free play of interpretation. According to Derrida, we are not invited to look through the text to something else, but rather only at it. He writes:

Reading . . . cannot legitimately transgress the text toward something other than it, toward the referent (a reality that is metaphysical, historical, psychobiographical, etc.) or toward a signifier outside the text whose content could take place, could have taken place outside of language, that is to say, in the sense that we give to that word, outside of writing in general…. There is nothing outside of the text.22

Whereas for Augustine the sign is always subordinated to the thing it signifies, for Derrida, the thing signfied is always subordinated, indeed even eliminated, in relation to the sign. An interesting comparison to make in this regard is with a Rabbinic conception of signification which combines a necessary adherence to both the sign and to the thing signified. To dismiss the sign as Augustine has done, or to idolize it as Derrida has done is misplaced according to Jewish thinking. Susan Handelman explains.

Jews adhere to signs not because they take the sign for the thing as res in the Greek philosophical sense, but because there is no primal division between word and thing in Jewish thought, and no conception of reality in terms of Greek metaphysics, or of truth as a totally self-identical present being. Jews adhere to signs because reality innately is constituted as linguistic for them. For the Jew it is precisely this cancellation of the sign or word for thing that is idolatrous.23

In addition to these interesting musings on the nature of signs and signification, a question worth investigating, especially for avid Christian readers of all kinds of texts, is whether or not Augustine’s principle of charity can be extended from the Bible to include other types of literary genres as well? Can poetry, short stories, novels, essays, biography and so on also be read agapically with a view to enhancing love for God and neighbor? I think that it is quite possible to transfer Augustine’s insights, in particular his principle of charity, to the entire spectrum of the reading experience for the thoughtful Christian. So does David L. Jeffrey. He believes that the momentum of Augustine’s literary theories are such “as to carry the energies of textual study outward into the whole realm of human inquiry, the universitas of humane wisdom, but only to draw their comprehension back again into concrete enactment of the word and will of God as summarized in the Great Commandment.”24

Perhaps, then, a comprehensive agapic reading is possible, but only on the basis of at least two theological assumptions. The first is a sacramental conception of the sum-total of reality and human life. This is established upon the pervasive and profound implications of the fact that “God the Father Almighty” is indeed the “Maker of heaven and earth” (Apostles’ Creed). Average denizens of our contemporary modern or postmodern age tend to view ordinary existence and every day human experience within a naturalistic framework, that is, in the context of a Weltanschauung in which all things have been thoroughly demythologized and disenchanted. Things are otherwise for theists whose spiritual sensitivities enable them to recognize the universe as the divine handiwork that is “charged with the grandeur of God” (Gerard Manley Hopkins). Such a sacramental view of reality means that this world is seen as “the visible sign of an invisible reality, a world thoroughly impregnated with the energy, purpose, and love of its Creator, who dwells in it as He dwells in the bread and wine on the altar.”25 In such a context, as Thomas Howard has pointed out, “ordinariness…opens out onto mystery.”26 And ordinariness, or mystery in disguise, is the stuff of which literature consists. The cleverly devised plot and carefully crafted characters of a novel, the multitudinous themes of poetry, the abstruse subjects of academic essays, and the fascinating, tragicomic lives depicted in biography all embody a sacramental reality whether the authors and readers of such texts realize it or not. Literature, in other words, is suffused with the holy, and is a silent praise to God who made all things well. Thus before one can read agapically, one must first learn to read sacramentally by becoming aware that the content encountered in literary texts is the bearer of transcendence. In this sense, there is no such thing as non-religious literature.

The second assumption establishing a foundation for universal agapic reading is found in the recognition that despite the pervasiveness and perversion of sin, the goodness of God’s creation endures, and is manifested in any and all circumstances. Nothing is totally evil or can be totally corrupted by evil. If it could, it would not exist, for evil is not a thing, but a lack in and corruption of things. Indeed, evil is a parasite which attaches itself to something originally good. Only because of the continued existence of the essentially good host does the parasite of evil exist at all. Thus even in the most despicable of situations, something of the original creation continues and is evident to the perceptive observer. Albert Wolters has expressed this thesis as clearly and succinctly as anyone.

The central point to make is that, biblically speaking, sin neither abolishes nor becomes identified with creation. Creation and sin remain distinct, however closely they may be intertwined in our experience. Prostitution does not eliminate the goodness of sexuality; political tyranny cannot wipe out the divinely ordained character of the state; the anarchy and subjectivism of much of modern art cannot obliterate the creational legitimacy of art itself. In short, evil does not have the power of bringing to naught God’s steadfast faithfulness to the works of his hands.27

Thus in literature that embodies dubious content, including such things as inveterate pride, heartless envy, unquenchable anger, chronic laziness, unrestrained greed, uncontrolled gluttony, and inordinate lust, there is an underlying expression of a good, sacramental order that has been deeply disrupted by radical rebellion and disobedience. Literary texts depict the structures of God’s good creation that have been woefully misdirected by human intransigence. Sin caricatures creation, but is absolutely incapable of destroying it. Because the havoc which sin reeks upon creation is always kept in check by the providence and laws of God, it is possible when evil, distortion, and corruption are encountered in the reading process to observe and appreciate aspects of the divine, sacramental order that are surreptitiously manifested amidst the chaos. As Augustine himself said in his Confessions, “All who desert you and set themselves up against you merely copy you in a perverse way; but by this very act of imitation they only show that you are the Creator of all nature and, consequently, that there is no place whatever where man may hide away from you.”28 Thus before one can read agapically, one must also learn to read providentially by recognizing that because of the power of God, sin is unable to destroy His handiwork, and that glimmers of Himself and the goodness of creation are everywhere evident in texts despite the presence of evil.

Thus in attempting to read various types of literature agapically, we would do well to ask ourselves the following questions in light of the preceding considerations: (1) What aspects of the divine, sacramental reality are on display in this particular text we are reading? (2) How has human sin and disobedience misdirected and perverted this aspect of God’s handiwork? (3) In what ways are aspects of the original goodness of God’s creation still evident despite the corruption present in this situation? (4) In what ways could this aspect of life and reality be redeemed and redirected for God’s glory and human benefit? (5) How can what I have met and detected in this particular text sacramentally and providentially be transformed into an increase in love for God as well as our neighbors? If indeed we can master the prerequisites of reading both sacramentally and providentially, then hopefully we can find success in discovering how to read all texts—biblically and otherwise—agapically. Perhaps it is the highest purpose of reading for a Christian. And it may be one of the most effective ways to be about the business of integrating Christian faith and learning.

Soli Deo Gloria


Notes

1 Augustine, Teaching Christianity (De Doctrina Christiana),intro., trans., and notes Edmund Hill, O. P. The Works of St. Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, ed. John E. Rotelle, O. S. A., vol. 11 (Hyde Park, New York: New City Press,1996), 3.15.23.

2 Brian Stock, Augustine the Reader: Meditation, Self-Knowledge, and the Ethics of Interpretation (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996), 3, believes that “the best narrative account of the role of reading in his [Augustine’s] education remains books 1-9 of the Confessions&helllip;”

3 Augustine, Confessions, trans. and intro. R. S. Pine-Coffin (New York/London: Penguin Books, 1961), 1.9 (p. 30).

4 Augustine, Confessions, trans Edward B. Pusey, 8.12.29.

5 Ibid.

6 Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (New York: Dorset Press, 1967), 262.

7 Henri-Irenee Marrou, Saint Augustine et la fin de la culture antique, 4th ed. (Paris, 1958), quoted in Stock, Augustine the Reader, 191. Indeed, as Stock points out, many believe that DDCis one of Augustine’s most original works, a truly distinguished intellectual achievement in which he lays out the theoretical foundations for a reading culture. As the iconographic tradition indicates, Augustine along with Jerome are depicted as the twin fathers of Western book culture, a distinction which even contemporary theorists confirm (e.g., Paul Ricoeur and Hans Georg Gadamer). Stock also suggests that while DDC focuses specifically on instruction for future clergymen and is not a treatise on Christian culture or education, still this book makes room for these matters in its main purpose.

8 Brown, Augustine, 261.

9 Augustine, Sermon 22.7; quoted in Brown, Augustine, 262.

10 Augustine, Teaching Christianity, 1.2.2 (emphasis added).

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid., 1.3.3.

13 Ibid.

14 Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching, trans., intro., notes R. P. H. Green, The World’s Classics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 1.4.4.

15 Augustine, Teaching Christianity, 1.5.5.

16 Ibid., 1.22.20.

17 Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching,1.35.39.

18 Ibid.

19 Ibid. 1.36.40.

20 Ibid.1.41.36.

21 Susan A. Handelman, The Slayers of Moses: The Emergence of Rabbinic Interpretation in Modern Literary Theory (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1982).

22 Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976), 158. If language is incapable of the mimetic representation of a final truth or reality and exists as a self-referential system, then it is arbitrary. The meaning of terms is a function of the place they assume in a linguistic system. There is a free play of possibilities on such a linguistic field where few if any boundaries delimit the kinds of meanings or interpretations readers may find in or attribute to texts. According to Derrida, since words lack fixed or concrete definitions such that “meaning” only surfaces in the way that words differ from one another in the dynamics of the language system, then the possibility of any final signification or interpretation must be endlessly deferred. Stanley Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1996), 143, explains the background of Derrida’s play on these words. “The French noun differance is Derrida’s own coinage. Its etymological root lies in the verb differer, which means both ‘to differ’ and ‘to defer.’ Differance sounds exactly like difference. But by appending the ance- ending, which in French produces verbal nouns, Derrida constructs a new form that means literally both ‘differing’ and ‘deferring.’”

23 Handelman, The Slayers of Moses, 117. Handelman points out that what amounts to an Augustinian articulation of “the displacement and escape from from textuality that permeates Christian thought” would be unthinkable in the Rabbinic tradition. According to Augustine, the Jews adhere to the sign (words) rather than to the thing which the words signify. But according to Handelman, true Jewish idolatry would be the attempt to adhere to the thing apart from signs (words).

24 Jeffrey, People of the Book, 89.

25 W. T. Jones, A History of Western Philosophy, 2d ed., vol. 2, The Medieval Mind (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1969), xix.

26 Thomas Howard, Hallowed Be This House, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1976, 1979), 15. Howard has also bemoaned the fact of the disenchantment of the world in these terms: “The ‘secularization’ of life urged on us by science and commerce and modernity generally is surely one of the bleakest myths ever to settle down over men’s imaginations” (13). Thus for this reason, he says “it is hard to see ourselves as walking daily among the hallows—that is, as carrying on the commonplace routines of our ordinary life in the presence of mighty mysteries that would ravish and terrify us if this veil of ordinariness were suddenly stripped away” (9).

27 Albert Wolters, Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985), 47.

28 Augustine, Confessions, R. S. Pine-Coffin, 2. 6. (p. 50).

29 David Lyle Jeffrey, People of the Book: Christian Identity and Literary Culture (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), 11.

30 Augustine, Teaching Christianity (De Doctrina Christiana), intro., trans., and notes Edmund Hill, O. P. The Works of St. Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, ed. John E. Rotelle, O. S. A., vol. 11 (Hyde Park, New York: New City Press, 1996), 3.15.23.

31 Brian Stock, Augustine the Reader: Meditation, Self-Knowledge, and the Ethics of Interpretation (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996), 3, believes that “the best narrative account of the role of reading in his [Augustine’s] education remains books 1-9 of the Confessions….”

32 Augustine, Confessions, trans. Edward B. Pusey, in The Great Books of the Western World ed. John Maynard Hutchins, vol. 18 (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 1952), 3.4.7

33 Augustine, Confessions, trans. and intro. R. S. Pine-Coffin, Penguin Classics (New York: Penguin Books, 1961), 3.5.9.

34 Otto A. Bird, Cultures in Conflict: An Essay in the Philosophy of the Humanities (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1976), 26.

35 Augustine, Confessions, trans Edward B. Pusey, 8.12.29.

36 Ibid.

37 Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (New York: Dorset Press, 1967), 262.

38 Henri-Irenee Marrou, Saint Augustine et la fin de la culture antique, 4th ed. (Paris, 1958), quoted in Stock, Augustine the Reader, 191. Indeed, as Stock points out, many believe that DDC is one of Augustine’s most original works, a truly distinguished intellectual achievement in which he lays out the theoretical foundations for a reading culture. As the iconographic tradition indicates, Augustine along with Jerome are depicted as the twin fathers of Western book culture, a distinction which even contemporary theorists confirm (e.g., Paul Ricoeur and Hans Georg Gadamer). Stock also suggests that while DDC focuses specifically on instruction for future clergymen and is not a treatise on Christian culture or education, still this book makes room for these matters in its main purpose.

39 Augustine, An Exposition of the Psalms 103.1; quoted in Brown, Augustine, 259.

40 Augustine, Letters of Augustine 55.7.13; quoted in Brown, Augustine, 259.

41 Brown, Augustine, 261.

42 Augustine, Sermon 22.7; quoted in Brown, Augustine, 262.

43 Augustine, Teaching Christianity, 1.2.2 (emphasis added).

44 Ibid.

45 Ibid., 1.3.3.

46 Ibid.

47 Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching, trans., intro., notes R. P. H. Green, The World’s Classics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 1.4.4.

48 Augustine, Teaching Christianity, 1.5.5.

49 Ibid., 1.22.20.

50 Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching,1.35.39.

51 Ibid.

52 Ibid. 1.36.40.

53 Ibid.1.41.36.

54 Jeffrey, People of the Book, 89-96. Hugh C. Holman and William Harmon, A Handbook to Literature, 5th ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1986), 313, have defined moral criticism as the practice of judging literature “according to the ethical principles that, in a given critic’s opinion, should govern human life.” Northrop Frye, Sheridan Baker, and George Perkins, The Harper Handbook to Literature (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), 131 suggest that moral criticism is based on the belief that “literature has an effect upon the way people lead their lives” and that “one of the legitimate concerns of criticism is an appropriate response to that belief.”

55 Jeffrey, People of the Book, 89.

56 W. T. Jones, A History of Western Philosophy, 2d ed., vol. 2, The Medieval Mind (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1969), xix.

57 Thomas Howard, Hallowed Be This House (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1976, 1979), 15. Howard has also bemoaned the fact of the disenchantment of the world in these terms: “The ‘secularization’ of life urged on us by science and commerce and modernity generally is surely one of the bleakest myths ever to settle down over men’s imaginations” (13). Thus for this reason, he says “it is hard to see ourselves as walking daily among the hallows—that is, as carrying on the commonplace routines of our ordinary life in the presence of mighty mysteries that would ravish and terrify us if this veil of ordinariness were suddenly stripped away” (9).

58 Albert Wolters, Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985), 47.

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