The Transmission of Sin Augustine and the Pre-Augustinian Sources

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-05-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Originally published in Italian in 1978,The Transmission of Sinis a study of the origins of the doctrine of original sin, one of the most important teachings of the Catholic Church. While the doctrine has a basis in biblical sources, it found its classic expression in the work of St. Augustine. Yet Augustine did not work out his theory on the basis of the biblical texts alone, rather he sought to understand them in the context of the religious thinking of his own time. Pier Franco Beatrice's work seeks to illuminate that context, and discover the post-biblical influences on Augustine's thought. Although he made considerable efforts to defend and elaborate the doctrine of hereditary guilt, says Beatrice, the doctrine already existed before Augustine and was in fact widespread in the Christianity of the time, particularly in the West. He locates its origins in Egypt in the second half of the second century CE, in Jewish-Christian circles that saw sexual congress as the source of the physical and moral corruption that afflicts all humans. In reaction to this extreme view, which rejected marriage and procreation as inherently evil, other theologians developed a more moderate position, recognizing only personal sin, which could not be inherited. Beatrice argues that Augustine's doctrine exemplified a synthesis of these two trends which would ultimately triumph as the orthodox Catholic position.

Author Biography

Pier Franco Beatrice is Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Padua.

Adam Kamesar is Professor of Judaeo-Hellenistic Literature at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, OH.

Table of Contents

Preface to the English Edition
Translator's Note
The Doctrine of Original Sin in Its Augustinian Formulation
The Pelagian Critique of the Doctrine of Original Sin
Original Sin and Its Consequences
The Essence and Transmission of Original Sin
Infant Baptism and Original Sin
The Biblical and Patristic Tradition according to Augustine
The Biblical Testimonia
Sin and Death in the Theology of Paul
Augustine and Ambrosiaster
Ambrose and Cyprian, Masters of Augustine
Chrysostom, Augustine, and the Pelagians
The Origin and Development of the 'Augustinian' Doctrine of Original Sin
The 'Legacy of Adam' in Greek Theology from the Second to the Fourth Century
The Encratite Origin of the 'Augustinian' Doctrine of Original Sin
The Concept of Original Sin as Popular and Manichean Heresy
Traducianism, Original Sin, and Infant Baptism in the West
Rome and Carthage: Two Traditions Compared
Conclusion: Towards a New History of the Augustinian Doctrine of Original Sin
Supplement to the Bibliography (2011)
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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