Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Via est per quam currimus: Christ and moral formation in Augustine's Peregrinatio image
by Stewart-Kroeker, Sarah, Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary, 2014, 335; 3643489
Abstract (Summary)

In this dissertation, I examine three centrally related themes that are united by Augustine's image of the journey to the homeland (the peregrinatio image): Christ, moral-aesthetic formation, and neighbor-love. The peregrinatio image pictures the process of moral-aesthetic formation in Christ as a communal journey to the heavenly homeland. This journey is initiated by attraction to beauty – both Christ's and his ecclesial members'. It is sustained by the conformation in love this attraction elicits. Through attraction to beauty believers are drawn to the way and through love they are formed along the way for life with God and one another in the heavenly homeland. Christ mediates this journey by being both the way on earth and the home in heaven. Peregrinatio is an image of the earthly and eschatological tension in which human beings live. Christ's incarnate-divine mediation establishes the continuity between the earthly journey and the eschatological home. This continuity is critical both for the process of moral-aesthetic formation and for the integrity of neighbor-love relationships.

The aims of this dissertation are three: to reveal the role of Christ in moral-aesthetic formation; to demonstrate the social nature of moral-aesthetic formation in the ecclesial context of the journey; and to examine the earthly and eschatological tension in Augustine's thought for understanding love of God and neighbor. Together, these aims and their respective themes mutually illuminate one another. This reading of the peregrinatio image in its Christological and moral-aesthetic aspects sheds new light on enduring ethical debates regarding neighbor-love and the uti-frui distinction in Augustinian studies. These debates have generally suffered from an under-appreciation of the role of Christ resulting in a fragmentation of the earthly and the eschatological. I emphasize the earthly-eschatological continuity the image depicts in its Christological aspect. My account of the peregrinatio image thereby overcomes the fragmentation of earthly and eschatological love.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bowlin, John R.
Commitee: Gregory, Eric, Wetzel, James
School: Princeton Theological Seminary
Department: Theology
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Ethics, Theology
Keywords: Aesthetics, Augustine, Christology, Moral formation, Pilgrimage, Plotinus
Publication Number: 3643489
ISBN: 978-1-321-31162-4
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