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The free choice of the will by Saint…
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The free choice of the will

by Saint Augustine of Hippo

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My interest in early Christian philosophy prompted me to read this book which deals with the freedom of choice and will. By rejecting elements of pure determinism and early forms of Calvinistic pre-destination, Augustine makes the bold claim that choice is free and evil the result of bad choices made by the individual. Therefore, we are responsible for our actions and not locked into one course. ( )
  cw2016 | Feb 22, 2017 |
The version I read of this was missing portions of Austine's writtings as it was part of my text book - so I feel I am cheating by posting that I read this. But regardless of scholastic edits, a truly timeless piece that attempts to answer the centuries old question of why does God let evil things happen/exist? ( )
  KatharineDB | Oct 10, 2010 |
Since it can be agreed upon by most that God is the Creator of all things, where do the circumstances of evil committed by His creation fall into His ultimate plan? Augustine’s argument with Evodius in regard to the use of man’s free-will for evil purposes attempts to display that every good thing has in fact been given by God; free-will included. Augustine’s primary thesis is that all good things come from one Creator (XVII). The purpose is to take the reader through a series of arguments between Augustine and Evodius as they discuss whether free-will is [1] good and [2] if used for evil is from God. Augustine “was a classically trained rhetorician who used his skill to eloquently proclaim at length the superiority of Christian culture over Greco-Roman culture, and he also served as one of the central figures by whom the latter was transformed and transmitted to the former.” Augustine’s views became somewhat of a paradox. This can be clearly attributed to the conflicting notions and beliefs from a plethora of philosophies including Hellenists, Epicureans, Stoics, Skeptics, and Neo-Platonists. Add to this assortment the varying degrees of orthodoxy within Christianity and unorthodox Gnostic sects of Manicheans, and you have an Abundance of beliefs which reveal themselves through his writings. There is little doubt that Augustine used the methodologies from his previous experiences to influence this work. It is certain, though, that his foundational manuscript for this writing was Scripture itself. In summary, Evodius, a “vigorous interlocutor and lively objector” (ix), asks a series of questions establishing dialogue between Augustine and himself. These questions take the reader on a search to discern mankind’s role in regard to the will. In comparison with other works on the subject of free-will (i.e. Luther’s Bondage of the Will, Erasmus’, Diatribe Concerning Free Will, Calvin’s, Institutes, etc.), the primary focus and foundational work should be on that of Scripture. Though not all the claims of Augustine are clearly congruent with God’s Word, the majority are. For the purposes of my own knowledge and research, Augustine’s work has proven invaluable. He clearly examined and explained his findings regarding the initial thesis. Though some material presented itself as redundant, the journey to seek the truth found its destination. ( )
  firefighter288 | Feb 21, 2008 |
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