Augustine Jesus Loves Me

Augustine Jesus Loves Me - ST AUGUSTINE JESUS LOVES ME...

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ST. AUGUSTINE JESUS LOVES ME Self-consciousness, whose literary expression is autobiography, is a middle class phenomenon. Intrinsically, the nobility's temperament is not one of consciousness of a distinct and free self. The aristocratic individual sees himself as part of a family. What counts is the story of the family, not the individual, who achieves a life course through the instrument of the noble family and service to it. The church's hierarchic tradition is also hostile to self-consciousness. It is sinful arrogance. We must see ourselves, said the medieval church, as dependent on divine grace, not as individuals pursuing a private purpose. Furthermore; the church liked elaborate structures and immersion of the individual in these complex structures, whether episcopal or monastic organizations. Self- consciousness and its literary genre, autobiography, are therefore a middle class affect. The strong and ambitious middle class person has neither the nobility's great family nor the church's institutional means of grace to be absorbed within, and develops a sense of making it as a person, as an individual. Middle class people rise because they have lots of room to do so; they start at a modest level of achievement and security. The scion of the great family and the holder of high ecclesiastical office can only fulfill the prescribed opportunities of their order. The middle class person can see a long avenue of transformation open to him or her and develops a strong ego in challenge to the environment. Autobiographical egoism existed in ancient literature. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), by origin an obscure, dark North African who opened up a career for himself by his excellence in Latin rhetoric, drew upon this classical genre and the psychological tendencies of his class to write an account of his life up to his mid-30s, when he became a Christian and a priest. Formally, it is antiegoistic because all the time he was allegedly making choices and experiencing upheavals of one sort or another, his Christian God was, he maintained, leading him through an edifying obstacle course to his predestined conversion. The Confessions therefore accords with the hierarchic doctrine of the church, and St. Augustine in his maturity played an Important role in elaborating that doctrine. But in this book he manages to tell one of the great personal stories In literature while superficially at least giving full recognition to the ecclesiastical doctrine of salvation by divine grace (gift). It is an interesting question why Augustine felt justified in writing or at least publishing this book some ten years after his conversion. He has a ready answer:
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