'Si Adam et Eva peccaverunt, quid nos miseri fecimus?' : the reception of Augustine's ontological discourse on the soul in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages.
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Thesis analyses the reception of Augustine of Hippo's (354-430) ontological discourse on the soul in late antiquity and the early middle ages, more specifically in the sixth and the ninth centuries. Since Augustine never wrote a 'De anima', nor always presented his readers with definite answers to questions, there was room for later authors to interpret and improvise. This thesis focuses on 4 texts: Cassiodorus Senator's 'De anima', Eugippius of Lucculanum's massive florilegium the 'Excerpta ex operibus Sancti Augustini', both from the sixth century, Gottschalk of Orbais' letter 'Quaestiones de anima', and John Scottus Eriugena's apologetic 'De divina praedestinatione liber', both from the ninth century. This thesis establishes that, apart from Cassiodorus, the author's main interest in Augustine's ideas on the ontology of the soul rests on the way it impinges on their contemporary predestination debates. Cassiodorus consciously wanted to produce a Christian De anima in a classical vein. Especially the question of the origin of the soul takes the interest of Eugippius and Gottschalk. This is an important question for predestination debates, since it is supposed to explain technically how original sin came to be universal. Augustine never found a satisfactory answer to this thorny question. Eriugena's genius lies in building an original ontology of the soul on Augustine's own foundations which sidesteps this problem of the origin of the soul entirely.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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