The Anti-Manichaean Polemic and Beyond
Preface Despite the seeming inexhaustiveness of investigations into the life and work of St. Augustine of Hippo, his theology of creation remains a relatively neglected area of his thought. This void in scholarship is surprising, when one considers the importance which the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo assumes in Augustine's writings. In a very real sense, this seminal Christian teaching constitutes a crucial, if not the pivotal, element in his theological deliberations on a wide variety of topics. For this reason, it might serve as a useful point of departure for as- sessing the mainlines of Augustine's theology as a whole. But it is interesting to observe that Augustine's theology "as a whole" is rarely, if ever, addressed. Why is this the case? A somewhat facile, yet thoroughly apt response immediately suggests itself: Augustine himself was a rather non-systematic theologian. This is not to say that his theology developed in a haphazard or poorly organized fashion. But in actuality, Augustine's writings reveal a continually evolving in- quiry concerning a wide range of perennially compelling theological problems. This is borne out, I think, by the fact that no single area of his theology can be treated in complete isolation from the others. For the most part, Augustine dealt with theological problems in the context of the controversies that prompted them. In this respect, the very nature of his thought dictates the method that should be em- ployed in its investigation and analysis. As Eugene TeSelle has ob- served, the most appropriate...
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