St. Augustine and Plotinus: the Human Mind as Image of the Divine


In Augustine and Plotinus: the Human Mind as Image of the Divine Laela Zwollo provides an inside view of two of the most influential thinkers of late antiquity: the Christian Augustine and the Neo-Platonist Plotinus. By exploring the finer points and paradoxes of their doctrines of the image of God (the human soul/intellect), the illustrious church father’s complex interaction with his most important non-biblical source comes into focus. In order to fathom Augustine, we should first grasp the beauty in Plotinus’ philosophy and its attractiveness to Christians. This monograph will contribute to a better understanding of the formative years of Christianity as well as later ancient philosophy. It can serve as a handbook for becoming acquainted with the two thinkers, as well as for delving into the profundity of their thought.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
Laela Zwollo, Ph.D. (2016) Tilburg University, School of Catholic Theology, is a researcher of Early Christianity, Platonism and Gnosticism. She is affiliated with i.a. the Centre of Patristic Research in Utrecht.
Preface Abbreviations
1 Augustine and Plotinus on Imaging the Divine  1 Introduction  2 A New Study on Augustine and Plotinus?  3 Key Aspects of This Study  4 The Multiple Accounts of a Status Quaestionis in an Interdisciplinary Research
2 Augustine’s Appraisal of Plotinus’ Philosophy  1 Augustine’s Accounts of Platonism in Confessions  2 Augustine on Plato and the Platonists in De civitate Dei and De Trinitate  3 Augustine as Christian Platonist: Synthesis
3 Plotinus: Imaging, the Soul and the Ascent  1 Introduction  2 Images and Imaging in Plotinus’ Theogony and Cosmology  3 The Human Soul as Image: φύσις, Λόγος and Νοῦς  4 The Ascent: Intellectual Contemplation and the Soul’s Ascent to Beauty
4 Augustine: the Image of God in His Genesis Commentaries  1 Introduction  2 Augustine’s Doctrine of Creation: Ideas and Images  3 The Soul-Intellect in Augustine’s Doctrine of the Imago Dei in De genesi ad litteram  4 The Ascent: the Soul’s Vision and Contemplation of the Ideas
5 Augustine: the Image of the Trinity in De Trinitate  1 Introduction: The Trinity  2 The Trinitarian Godhead and Christology  3 The Imago Trinitatis: Knowledge and Love  4 Augustine’s Account of the Ascent in De Trinitate
Prologue: Introduction to Chapters 6–9 on Augustine and Plotinus
6 Augustine and Plotinus on the Godhead  1 Introduction  2 The Triune Godhead: Similarities  3 Differences  4 Synthesis and Conclusions
7 Augustine and Plotinus on the Image-Intellect and Epistemology  1 Introduction; Definition of the Terms, Image and Intellect  2 Epistemology: Similarities  3 Differences  4 Synthesis and Conclusions
8 Augustine and Plotinus on Love  1 Introduction  2 Summaries of Plotinus and Augustine on Love  3 General Correspondences  4 General Differences  5 Synthesis
9 Augustine and Plotinus on the Ascent  1 Introduction  2 Plotinus: the Epistemological Ascent and the Ascent by Love  3 Augustine on the Ascent  4 General Similarities  5 Gray Areas  6 Major Differences  7 Synthesis
10 Plotinus in Augustine’s Doctrine of the Image of God  1 Introduction  2 The Plotinian Influence on Augustine: Marked Similarities  3 Major Differences  4 Augustine’s Critique of Platonism from Chapter 2: an Evaluation
11 Augustine’s Christian Platonism  1 How Can We Characterize Augustine as a Christian?  2 How as a Platonist?  3 Augustine’s Relationship to Platonism (Confessions and The City of God)  4 Conclusions
12 Epilogue
Primary Sources Bibliography Bible References Index
Researchers of the Greek philosophical influence on early Christianity, in particular Augustine and Plotinus; also readers interested in acquainting themselves with the roots of Christianity and the Platonist tradition.
  • Collapse
  • Expand