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Augustine’s Christological Hermeneutics in "De doctrina Christiana</I>


Tarmo Toom

The present study discusses the symbiotic relationship between Augustine’s hermeneutical insights and Christology. It focuses on the first three books of De doctrina Christiana in their given sequence. Since Augustine’s hermeneutics implies a Christological epistemology, the author approaches De doctrina Christiana through Augustine’s early epistemological treatises Contra Academicos and De Magistro. The former defends the possibility of certain knowledge, and the latter explains how this knowledge is gained through the illuminative activity of the Inner Teacher. The work also integrates linguistic signification in ancient philosophy which prepares the ground for understanding Augustine’s ‘science of signs’ and the fundamental Christological analogy in doc. Chr. 1.13. This study exemplifies that Augustine’s whole semiotic system is constructed around the fundamental Sign, the humanity of Christ, which in its hypostatic union with the divine nature enables one to know God through Christ the human being.
Contents: Patristic exegesis – Christology and exegesis – Augustine on interpretation – History of biblical interpretation – Thought and language – Linguistic signification – Ancient philosophy and theology – Augustine and the ancient philosophical tradition – Literal and figurative interpretation – Regula fidei and biblical interpretation – Ancient epistemology and hermeneutics – Augustine on understanding the bible – The scriptural words and Christ the Word – The analogy between incarnation and the scripture.