n Literêr-inhoudelike analise van Boek 7 van Augustinus se Confessiones : Augustinus se begrip van die bestaanswyse van God en die kwaad

Du Plessis, A. F. J. (Anna Francina Johanna) (2001-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Augusine's search for the nature of God's exisistence as well as the origin of evil, reaches a climax in Book 7 of his Confessions. This study assumes the position that Augustine strives to find answers to the above mentioned two questions in the first six books of the Confessions. The answers to both these questions were vitally important to Augustine, since it would then convince him to convert to the Christian faith. Augustine repeatedly thought he grasped the true answer to the existence of God and the origin and the nature of evil but he was disillusioned time and again. His quest for an answer started with his reading of Cicero's Hortentius (Conf. 3.4.7), a book that urged Augustine to search for Truth. Augustine then joined the Manicheans, a sect claiming that their doctrine was based on reason and contained the Truth (Conf. 3.6.10). Augustine believed that the Manicheans could resolve his quest for answers to the existence and nature of both God and evil. The Manichean intellectual and scientific exposition of the cosmos allowed Augustine to imagine God and evil as opposing substances. Eventually, promted by his own intellect, Augustine discovered weaknesses in their theories (Conf. 5.3.3-5.6.10). Augustine's final break with the Manicheans, after nine years as an adherent, came when he heard the sermons of Ambrose of Milan. Not only was Augustine impressed by Ambrose's eloquence but his sermons also embodied an interpretation of Platonism in Christian terms. Augustine's reading of the Neoplatonic books in a Latin translation urged him to turn into himself (Conf. 7.10.16) and search for God there. Once Augustine could pronounce upon the intelligible existence of God, his inquiry into the origin of evil resolved itself (7.12.18).

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Augustinus se soeke na die bestaanswyse van God en die aard en onstaan van die kwaad bereik 'n klimaks in Boek 7 van die Confessiones. In hierdie studie word daar van die standpunt uitgegaan dat Augustinus onder andere in die eerste ses boeke van die Confessiones poog om antwoorde te kry op bogenoemde twee vraagstukke. Antwoorde op beide hierdie vrae was van kardinale belang, aangesien dit Augustinus sou oortuig om hom tot die Christelike geloof te bekeer. Augustinus het herhaaldelik gepoog om die ware antwoorde op die vraag na bestaanwyse van God sowel as die oorsprong en die aard van die kwaad te vind. Hy was egter telke male ontnugter. Augustinus se soeke het begin toe hy in aanraking gekom het met Cicero se Hortensius (Conf. 3.4.7), 'n boek wat Augustinus aangemoedig het om die Waarheid na te jaag. Gevolglik het Augustinus by die Manicheërs aangesluit, aangesien dié sekte geglo het dat hulle leerstellinge gebaseer is op die rede en sodoende die volle waarheid bevat (Cant. 3.6.10). Augustinus het geglo dat die Manicheërs sy soektog na antwoorde op die vraag van God en die kwaad se bestaanswyse kon oplos. Die Manicheërs se intellektuele en wetenskaplike uiteensetting van die kosmos het Augustinus toegelaat om God en die kwaad as teenstrydige entiteite te beskou. Ongeveer nege jaar na sy aansluiting by die Manicheërs, aangemoedig deur sy eie intellek, het Augustinus die swak punte in die Manichese leerstellinge ontdek (Cant. 5.3.3-5.6.10). Die finale breek met die Manicheërs het gekom toe Augustinus die preke van Ambrosius in Milaan gehoor het. Nie alleen was Augustinus ingenome met Ambrosius se welsprekendheid nie, maar sy preke het ook die interpretasie van Platonisme in Christelike terme beliggaam. Die Neoplatoniese leerstellinge het Augustinus aangemoedig om na homself, in homself te draai (Conf. 7.10.16) en vir God daar te gaan soek. Sodra Augustinus kon verklaar dat God in die vorm van 'n kenbare wese bestaan, het sy soeke na die oorsprong en die aard van die kwaad dit self opgelos (Cant. 7.12.18).

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