ADVANTAGES

Approached from this angle, what wants an explanation is why one wouldsubordinate indispensable patterns and regularities in order toemphasize what is idiosyncratic and unique . Here, as in the case ofthe will, it is important to understand that Augustine is bringingtogether two quite disparate traditions, and here again one needs totake note of his efforts to capture the data of revelation he seesembedded in Judeo-Christian scripture. If one approaches these lattertexts as presenting a Christian drama of the soul's salvation, onecannot help but focus upon the unique, non-repeatable events thatdefine the drama, e.g., the fall recounted in the early chapters ofGenesis, the incarnation, passion, and resurrection of Christ in thesynoptic and Johannine gospels, and the final judgement foretold inRevelations. One must, however, exercise some caution here. Thecyclical and linear approaches are matters of emphasis rather thanmutually exclusive alternatives, and the scriptural traditions uponwhich Augustine relies are certainly not devoid of cyclical motifs[e.g. Ecclesiastes 3.1–8], nor does Augustine himself embraceone approach wholly to the exclusion of the other, as even a cursoryreading of his Confessions reveals. And, of course, thehistorically unique life of Christ becomes a pattern for the Christianlife in general [e.g. De Civitate Dei XXII.5]. These pointsnotwithstanding, there can be little question that Augustine providesan account of human history that is at times resolutely linear, atendency which can be traced to the Judeo-Christian scripturaltradition.

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