St Augustine's pneumatology remains one of his most distinctive, decisive, and ultimately divisive contributions to the story of Christian thought. How did his understanding of the Spirit develop? Why does he identity the Spirit with divine love and cosmic order? And from what personal and literary sources did he receive inspiration? This examination of Augustine's pneumatology - the first book-length study of this important topic available - seeks answers in Augustine's earliest extant writings, penned during the years surrounding his famed return to the Catholic Church and the height of his efforts to synthesize Catholic theology and the Platonic philosophy of his day which had postulated a divine 'trinity' of its own. Careful analysis of these initial texts casts fresh light upon Augustine's more mature and well-known theology of the Holy Spirit while also illuminating on-going discussions about his early thought such as the nature and extent of his Platonic sympathies and the possibility that the recent convert remained committed to the divinity of the human soul.
'… the volume presents a convincing and balanced picture of the young Augustine’s evolving Pneumatology with a great deal of careful analysis of the texts. Although Gerber rightly stresses the influence of Augustine’s Catholic teachers in the church of Milan, he does so without dismissing the obvious Neoplatonic influences that others have perhaps overemphasized. The volume is a significant contribution to our understanding of Augustine’s early theology of Spirit.' Theological Studies ’With extensive footnotes, bibliography, and index, Gerber’s The Spirit of Augustine’s Early Theology: Early Theology: Contextualizing Augustine’s Pneumatology should serve well as a resource for scholars and serious students of historical theology and of Augustinian pneumatology. I highly recommend it!’ The Pneuma Review 'The Spirit of Augustine’s Early Theology is a helpful book that illuminates the way in which Augustine deepens his understanding of God. It successfully argues for continuity within Augustine’s pneumatology. One might say the ancient theologian continually organized the pieces of a puzzle he knew well, all the while adding new pieces as soon as he realized their worth. Gerber’s own consideration of the Spirit as the love of God in Augustine’s earlier work admirably helps modern scholars organize our understanding of Augustine’s thought and even adds a few new pieces to our puzzle.' The Marginalia Review of Books 'Augustine's theology prior to his becoming Bishop of Hippo has a much more optimistic, philosophical character than his later writings which were directed against various heresies. He tends to be remembered more for his teaching about original sin and grace mediated through Christ than for what he has to say about the Holy Spirit. Chad Gerber has produced an excellent corrective to such assumptions by focusing on his earlier writings, with particular attention to the neglected topic of his pneumatology.' Parergon ’…clear
Contents: Introduction; Nicaea and neoplatonism: the contours of Augustine's earliest Trinitarian theology; The soul of Plotinus and the spirit of Nicaea: the pneumatology of the Cassiciacum Dialogues (386-387); The spirit of love: the pneumatology of the Roman writings (387-388); The creative spirit of God: the pneumatology of the Thagastan writings (389-391); Conclusion; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.
The Studies in Philosophy and Theology in Late Antiquity series focuses on major theologians, not as representatives of a 'tradition', whether Christian or classical, but as individuals immersed in the intellectual culture of their day. Each book concentrates on the arguments, not merely the opinions, of a single Christian writer or group of writers from the period A.D 100-600 and compares and contrasts these arguments with those of pagan contemporaries who addressed similar questions.
By study of political, social, and cultural milieu, contributors to the series show what external factos led to the convergence or divergence of Christianity and pagan thought in particular localities or periods. Pagan and Christian teachings are set out in a clear and systematic form, making it possible to bring to light the true originality of the author's thought and to estimate the value of his work for modern times.
This high profile research series offers an important contribution to areas of contemporary research in the patristic period, as well as providing new links into later periods, particularly the Medieval and Reformation.