A Nonviolent Augustinianism?: History and Politics in the Theologies of St. Augustine and John Howard Yoder
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The theologies of St. Augustine and John Howard Yoder are, if at all treated together, typically contrasted. This negative juxtaposition is in so small part due to the very different reputations of each theologian on the question of violence. This dissertation demonstrates that the standard contrast between the theopolitical visions of Yoder and Augustine is mistaken. An introduction portrays the cumulative work of the chapters as the unfolding of a question about the contemporary reception of Augustine and Yoder: Might John Howard Yoder's "pacifism of the messianic community" be received as a radical form of Augustinianism? The dissertation consists of four chapters, each dealing with some aspect of Yoder's or Augustine's thought which, under closer examination, reveals an interesting line of convergence with the thought of the other. The politics of historical interpretation, the challenge of interiority, the aims of historicism, and the nature of "the political" are taken up in succession. An affirmative answer to the overarching question is suggested, but the more important task is to render the question salient for contemporary theologians and ethicists.