Bibliology, Eschatology, Platonism, Augustine
This paper contends that Augustine was a significant contributor to the “Spiritual Vision Model” of the Christian conception of heaven described by Craig Blaising. This model is premised on the Platonic understanding of perfection in which the soul unites with the Good, and heaven is primarily a cognitive state in which the individual possesses perfect spiritual knowledge. This model also provides a rational basis for favoring a figurative or spiritualized interpretation of Scripture over its literal meaning. Augustine’s early life and conversion reflects a commitment to the SVM’s Platonic ideals, as demonstrated in his deference to Cicero, his journey into and out of Manichaeanism, and his infatuation with the teaching of Ambrose. His hermeneutic articulated in De Doctrina Christiana reflects the SVM’s prioritization of a spiritualized interpretation of Scripture over a literal. While Augustine’s life and teaching reflect a commitment to a high view of Scripture, they nevertheless reflect a prominent example in church history where the ideals of the Spiritual Vision Model were prevalent.
Maitland, Kent T.. 2023. "Platonism’s Influence on the Hermeneutic of Augustine: Exploring the Philosophical Roots of Augustine’s Interpretive Approach." Eleutheria: John W. Rawlings School of Divinity Academic Journal 7, (1). https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/eleu/vol7/iss1/6