Browsing by Subject "ekumeniikka"

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  • Nisula, Timo (2011)
    This study analyses Augustine s concept of concupiscentia, or evil desire (together with two cognate terms, libido and cupiditas) in the context of his entire oeuvre. By the aid of systematic analysis, the concept and its development is explored in four distinct ways. It is claimed that Augustine used the concept of concupiscentia for several theological purposes, and the task of the study is to represent these distinct functions, and their connections to Augustine s general theological and philosophical convictions. The study opens with a survey on terminology. A general overview of the occurrences of the negatively connoted words for desire in Latin literature precedes a corresponding examination of Augustine s own works. In this introductory chapter it is shown that, despite certain preferences in the uses of the words, a sufficient degree of synonymy reigns so as to allow an analysis of the concept without tightly discriminating between the terms. The theological functions of concupiscentia with its distinct contexts are analysed in separate chapters. The function of concupiscentia as a divine punishment is explored first (Ch 3). It is seen how Augustine links together concupiscentia and ideas about divine justice, and finally suggests that in the inordinate, psychologically experienced sexual desire, the original theological disobedience of Adam and Eve can be perceived. Augustine was criticized for this solution already in his own times, and the analysis of the function of concupiscentia as a divine punishment ends in a discussion on the critical response of punitive concupiscentia by Julian of Aeclanum. Augustine also attached to concupiscentia another central theological function by viewing evil desire as an inward originating cause for all external evil actions. In the study, this function is analysed by surveying two formally distinct images of evil desire, i.e. as the root (radix) of all evil, and as a threefold (triplex) matrix of evil actions (Ch 4). Both of these images were based on a single verse of the Bible (1 Jn 2, 16 and 1 Tim 6, 10). This function of concupiscentia was formed both parallel to, and in answer to, Manichaean insights into concupiscentia. Being familiar with the traditional philosophical discussions on the nature and therapy of emotions, Augustine situated concupiscentia also into this context. It is acknowledged that these philosophical traditions had an obvious impact into his way of explaining psychological processes in connection with concupiscentia. Not only did Augustine implicitly receive and exploit these traditions, but he also explicitly moulded and criticized them in connection with concupiscentia. Eventually, Augustine conceives the philosophical traditions of emotions as partly useful but also partly inadequate to deal with concupiscentia (Ch 5). The role of concupiscentia in connection to divine grace and Christian renewal is analysed in the final chapter of the study. Augustine s gradual development in internalizing the effects of concupiscentia also into the life of a baptized Christian are elucidated, as are the strong limitations and mitigations Augustine makes to the concept when attaching it into the life under grace (sub gratia). A crucial part in the development of this function is played by Augustine s changing interpretation of Rom 7, and the way concupiscentia appears in Augustine s readings of this text is therefore also analysed. As a result of the analysis of these four distinct functions and contexts of concupiscentia, it is concluded that Augustine s concept of concupiscentia is fairly tightly and coherently connected to his views of central theological importance. Especially the functions of concupiscentia as a punishment and the function of concupiscentia in Christian renewal were both tightly interwoven into Augustine s view of God s being and God s grace. The study shows the importance of reading Augustine s discussions on evil desire with a constant awareness of their role in their larger context, that is, of their function in each situation. The study warns against too simplistic and unifying readings of Augustine s concupiscentia, emphasizing the need to acknowledge both the necessitating, sinful aspects of concupiscentia, and the domesticated features of concupiscentia during Christian renewal.
  • Koivisto, Jussi (Jussi Koivisto, 2012)
    This article dissertation examines Luther s idea of evil in his Biblical interpretation. In Luther s central works and in his various comments on Biblical passages he seems to repeat over and over again the idea that individual human beings or other creatures cannot avoid being part of evil or becoming victims of evil. In short, evil seems to be an inevitable part of human life and the Creation. This article dissertation studies this kind of inevitability of evil from various perspectives. In order to provide a multiple perspective on the inevitability of evil in Luther s works, this dissertation studies the following themes in these works: the terminological definition of the inevitability of evil; the manifold phenomenon of fascinare; the serpent (Gen. 3) possessed by the Devil; did the first human choose evil? (Gen. 3); was God the origin of evil?; how was God involved in evil?; the problem of evil. Various methods have been used: systematic argumentation and concept analysis, contextualizing Luther in the history of doctrines and ideas, using reception criticism or the Wirkungsgeschichte of Biblical texts, and source criticism. Using these methodological approaches to Luther, this dissertation offers new insights on Lutheranism and the various traditions preceding it. It introduces the ancient tradition which dominated early, medieval and early modern Christianity, but is not recognized in modern exegesis: the idea that the serpent of Genesis chapter three was possessed by the Devil. The main results of this dissertation can be summarized as follows: Luther considered evil in its various forms as an inevitable part of human life and the Creation. Luther avoided giving the impression that God was the causal, ontological or active origin of evil. However, Luther thought that God had permitted evil to slither into the world. The active origin of evil in the fall of angels and the first human was the Devil. However, after these two falls, God has been involved more actively in evil: He uses and is even present in evil so that He can execute His good plans for the salvation of humankind and for His own glory. Luther also suggested that (an omnipotent) God allowed the Fall to occur, because through Christ s salvific sacrifice humankind could truly comprehend how much God cared for humans. In other words, Luther deemed that God permitted evil for executing His good aims. On the other hand, Luther thought that liberation from various forms of (inevitable) evil, including sin, possession, and bewitchment, was only possible through pastoral care or spiritual healing orchestrated by the Holy Spirit.