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"The unity of the spirit": the trinity, the church and love in Saint Augustine of Hippo

Hoskins, John Paul (2006) "The unity of the spirit": the trinity, the church and love in Saint Augustine of Hippo. Masters thesis, Durham University.



"The unity ofthe Spirit": the Trinity, the Church and love in Saint Augustine of Hippo. Augustine of Hippo spent most of his career contending for the cause of the unity of the Church. His passion for Church unity has frequently been portrayed as a consequence of his north African heritage, but one important theological basis has generally been overlooked. This thesis locates his ecclesiology firmly in the context of his trinitarian theology, particularly his emphasis on the unity of God. Many scholars have considered his theology of the Trinity; others have explored his theology of the Church; but this thesis draws out the connections between the two. Augustine is not the first theologian to discuss the unity of the three persons of the Trinity. However, he is the first to develop the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the bond of love and unity between the Father and the Son. This principle has important implications for his theology of the Church, since it means that discussions of the Holy Spirit and of love in the context of ecclesiology have an explicitly Trinitarian dimension. The thesis consists of three chapters. In the first, Augustine's unique doctrine of the Holy Spirit and of love is set out. It is demonstrated that he locates the image of God not so much in the individual human soul, as in human beings in relation with one another. In the second chapter, attention moves to the Church, and it is shown that Augustine sees the fellowship itself as the analogy of God the Trinity. Love is the characteristic mark of the Church, and those who do not have love and the Holy Spirit have excluded themselves from communion with one another and with God. The third and final chapter is a case study of how these ideas were worked out in practice in the controversies with Manicheism, Donatism and Pelagianism.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:2006
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:34

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