Mike Aquilina

Q&A with the Man from Hippo

Monday August 25th 2008, 10:08 pm

In today’s mail came Responses to Miscellaneous Questions, the latest installment in New City Press’s “Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century.”

“This volume contains three of Augustine’s works that show him responding to a large variety of questions posed by different persons. The ‘Miscellany of Eighty-Three Questions’ was compiled over the course of several years and deals with philosophical, theological and exegetical matters that had been raised in the religious community that Augustine founded and headed. Some of these matters are handled very briefly, some at great length. Augustine’s exegesis is particularly interesting. ‘The Miscellany of Questions in Response to Simplician’ was written at the request of the saintly bishop of Milan who followed Ambrose in that role. This work, in the form of two books, is crucially important for understanding Augustine’s theology of grace and how he arrived at his position on this issue, which is certainly his most important contribution to Western theology — but the questions are not limited to a discussion of grace. Finally, the ‘Eight Questions of Dulcitius’ includes responses to questions in which, uniquely, Augustine quotes himself at length.”

I’ve been paging through the book, but so far haven’t found his take on the question “If God’s all-powerful, can He make a rock so big that not even He can lift it?” I’ll let you know if it turns up.