ANTHROPOLOGY OF ST. AUGUSTINE IN DE CURA PRO MORTUIS GERENDA

DOI 10.22412/1993-7768-11-1-5

ANTHROPOLOGY OF ST. AUGUSTINE IN DE CURA PRO MORTUIS GERENDA

Ivan E. Lapshin, PhD (Cand. Sc.) in Philosophy,
Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, Moscow, Russian Federation. E-mail: i.e.lapshin@yandex.ru

Alexandr N. Usatov, PhD student
Ss. Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute of Post- Graduate Studies, Moscow, Russian Federation.

The article is a brief overview of St. Augustine’s treatise “On the Care of the Dead” which considered the Christian attitude to the dead, and analyzes the treatise from the point of view of Christian philosophical anthropology. Augustine of Hippo is one of the fundamental authors of the Christian worldview; he influenced a lot on the medieval Christians’ view to the world and man. Analyzed in the article, the treatise examines mainly two issues: the feasibility of burial of the dead near the place of veneration of saints and whether a dead man can haunt the living. Some ideas and arguments of Augustine formulated in the treatise “On the Care of the Dead “, are already familiar to readers of “Confessions” (“Confessiones”) and «The City of God against the Pagans” (“De Civitate Dei”), however, there are a number of issues which were considered by Augustine only in this later treatise. Some methodological techniques are especially interesting, they are most noticeable in his smaller works, including the treatise “ On the Care of the Dead “: the search for weak points in his own argument with the opposing positions of the interlocutor; the attitude to the events of sacred history and the stories of contemporaries as to the events of a single historical space; reliance on Scripture as a text which has absolute authority when considering a very broad range of issues, but allowing for a certain freedom of inter- pretation. Augustine of Hippo, one of the most influential Christian thinkers of the Medieval West, left behind a vast philosophical heritage which included works on philosophical anthropology. Although this sphere of Augustine’s philosophizing isn’t underexamined in general, the most common expositions of his anthropology are based mainly on his most popular works. This article endeavors to supplement these expositions with ideas offered by Augustine in his “On the Care of the Dead”.

Keywords: philosophical anthropology, Augustine, Christianity

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