Jochen Sauer, ed., Antike Konzepte neu denken bei Augustinus. Transformationen klassischer Texte in De civitate Dei und weiteren Werken. Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg (coll. “Acta Didactica - Bielefelder Beiträge zur Didaktik der Alten Sprachen in Schule und Universität,” 5), 2022, 292 p.

  • Jonathan I. von Kodar

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  • Jonathan I. von Kodar
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Couverture de Volume 80, numéro 1, 2024, p. 3-164, Laval théologique et philosophique

This volume is for those interested in didactics and who would like to familiarize themselves with Augustinian reception of classical ancient texts in De civitate Dei and other works by Augustine based on the current state of research. The six contributions focus on the transformation of these classic texts and address how Augustine offers new solutions to the problems on which they are based. Five concepts are considered : Stoic theory of emotions (Cicero), Idea of State theory (Cicero), Conception of History (Ovid, Livy, Seneca), Exemplary Ethics (Livy) and Ideals of Friendship (Plato to Seneca). This is a continuation of the previous volume Augustinus : De civitate Dei, Fachwissenschaftliche und fachdidaktische Zugänge, published in 2020. This book can be viewed from two perspectives : i) a focus on the texts of Cicero, Ovid, Sallust or Livy and the reception or transformation these texts experience in Augustinian reflection ; ii) a focus on Augustine’s thinking and on which pagan resources he relies and transforms. The works of Livy (Ab urbe condita), Ovid (Metamorphoses) and Seneca (Epistulae morales) are highlighted. Cicero’s De re publica, De finibus, and Tusculanae disputationes are included due to their eminent importance for Augustine’s engagement with Roman political theory and ethics. The first article in this volume by Sauer lists the challenges of reading Augustine and the solutions for overcoming them. The concepts of χρῆσις and Transformation are explained as categories for describing Augustine’s dealings with classical authors and texts. The article concludes with a consideration of images (V. Carpaccio, The Vision of St. Augustine, 1502). This is followed by two contributions dedicated to the reception of Ciceronian texts. Van de Loo takes a look at Cicero’s dialogues De re publica and De legibus and compares the state-theoretical ideas developed in them with Augustine’s political thought (a continuation of Günzel’s contribution to the first Augustinus volume in this series). Van de Loo pays particular attention to Cicero’s concept of justice and demonstrates under which premise, intention, and result Augustine transforms Cicero’s Theory of State and Natural Law. The article concludes with didactic perspectives and a concise compilation of basic knowledge on Augustine and De civitate Dei. Kiesel analyzes Augustine’s handling of the Stoic theory of emotions (πάθη) and explains to what extent this is directly based on Cicero’s reception of Stoicism. Cicero criticizes the Stoic theory of emotions in his work De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum because in it, advantageous and disadvantageous elements such as wealth or illness, are viewed as irrelevant to human happiness (dichotomy model). In the Tusculanae disputationes Cicero criticizes the fact that the Stoics view these things as good and evil, particularly if virtus is in first position (hierarchy model). Augustine adopts the two-fold interpretation of the Stoic theory of emotions carried out by Cicero and thus also implies two different concepts of good ; while the dichotomy model advocates that only eternal bliss is the rightful reference point for emotions, the hierarchy model also allows (weaker) emotional attachment to temporal good and evil. The topics of historical thinking and ‘exemplary ethics’ are examined in the following two articles by Nießen and Pohl respectively. Nießen compares the historical thinking of Seneca, Ovid and Livy in suitable categories. In the first part, he looks at the historical-philosophical thinking of Seneca and Augustine and categorizes it from the perspective of an ascendant or descent model. Then, using the example of the Sabine Sisters episode, he explains to what extent Livy and Augustine both reconstruct history as drama. Finally, the …