Arnoud S. Q. Visser

in Reading Augustine in the Reformation

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199765935
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895168 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology


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Proceeding from two skeptical assessments of Augustine's authority in the Reformation by the Enlightenment philosophes Voltaire and Edward Gibbon, this epilogue explores the implications of Augustine's varied reception in the sixteenth century for the history of ideas. It concludes, first, that the rise of confessional divisions did not merely repress intellectual activities, but also promoted new scholarship. Second, and related, it reconsiders the impact of Renaissance humanism on individual reading practices. In contrast to the movement's claim to return to the sources, humanist scholarship and education continued to serve contemporary needs. Individual readers used humanist techniques to read the same ancient sources in strikingly different ways.

Keywords: Augustine of Hippo; authority; Voltaire; Edward Gibbon; Renaissance Humanism; history of ideas; confessional divisions

Chapter.  1681 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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