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Title: The Ascent of the Image in De uera religione
Author(s): BOERSMA, Gerald
Journal: Augustiniana
Volume: 64    Issue: 1-4   Date: 2014   
Pages: 125-151
DOI: 10.2143/AUG.64.1.3080610

Abstract :
In De uera religione Augustine articulates a theology of ascent in the context of a Plotinian metaphysic of the return of an image to participate most fully in its source. However, unlike Plotinus, Augustine insists that a successful ascent of the image is predicated on the grace of the initial descent of the imago dei in the Incarnation. This article argues that De uera religione 12.24 is a critical passage in Augustine’s early theology of the ascent of the soul as imago to participate in the Trinity. This passage contains the nucleus of the central themes to be developed throughout De uera religione, namely, the ascent from the many corporeal changing things to the one supreme, incorporeal good – the Holy Trinity. De uera religione 12.24 also demonstrates that Augustine’s enthusiasm regarding Platonism has its limits already in this early work: Platonic κάθαρσις proves to be insufficient to overcome the fallen human condition. At this point, Augustine’s theology augments and transforms his Platonic proclivities: it is the grace of God made present through the Incarnation that restores the soul to health.

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