44 Indeed although Augustine also has his technical moments his usual style is

44 indeed although augustine also has his technical

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44 Indeed, ‘although Augustine also has his technical moments, his usual style is rather the free flow of late-classical eloquence’. 45 Moreover, ‘his terminology manifests a certain looseness and flexibility’ 46 such that terms like ‘ societas , civitas , populus , res publica , regnum are frequently inter- changeable or at least so closely related that the meaning must be derived from context’. 47 To Augustine’s great credit, virtually everything in his thought ‘stands together and holds together’. 48 However, unfortunately for his readers, the resulting monolith is such that even Augustine himself ‘cannot lay hold of one link in the chain without drawing the whole chain’, 49 and one ‘who tries to examine it link by link is in constant danger of putting too much strain upon it and breaking it wherever he sets a provisional limit’. 50 Attempting to 5 Saint Augustine and the Just-War Tradition Mattox, John Mark. Saint Augustine and the Theory of Just War, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2006. ProQuestEbook Central, .Created from clevelandstate-ebooks on 2018-12-03 16:13:20.
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separate out the intricately interrelated ideas that constitute what has come to be called the ‘Augustinian complex’ of doctrines is like trying to separate the strands of a spider’s web: it can be done if great care is exercised, but not without the risk of doing damage to the whole. This problem applies not only to any attempt to systematize Augustine’s just-war theory, but also to Augus- tine’s writings in general – and indeed, to the writings of those philosophical figures later influenced by Augustinism. As Gilson observes, ‘it is a persistent fact in the history of philosophy that doctrines wherein Augustine’s inspiration predominates do not readily lend themselves to synthetic exposition’. 51 Digres- sion ’, he adds, ‘ is Augustinism’s natural method. The natural order of an Augustin- ian doctrine is to branch out around one center .’ 52 Often in the same passage – even in the same sentence – Augustine is prone to explore multiple themes, or the same theme from multiple perspectives, thus making the resulting mosaic one with which the beholder is reluctant to tamper. Nonetheless, if one is willing to venture, ‘Augustine’s spontaneous reactions, . . . as they appear at random in his sermons and letters, will often provide us with material that throws quite as vivid a light on his basic assumptions as do his professed formulations of political theory.’ 53 Augustinian priorities Augustine the just-war thinker is also Augustine the philosopher and theolo- gian – although it is often difficult to tell from which vantage point he is writing at any given time. However, one must continually bear in mind that Augustine the philosopher and theologian is, first and always, a rhetorician and skilled polemicist. Hence, his points are often made in the form of refut-
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