The question was not what the church says. The question is what Augustine says.
Right ! But the first issue was introduced in post 3.
Now it would be fine to deal with it.
Augustine clearly wrote that he originally taught (perhaps in one single work, depending how you read the text) that Peter was the rock, and then later, on many occasions, taught that Christ was the rock. He offered much less in explanation of the first view (the one being seemingly repudiated) than he did of his later interpretation, which he explained in detail so that the reader would fully understand it and its implications.
I can agree on a large part of this paragraph.
As you can expect I can’t with “the one being seemingly repudiated”.
As to why the second explanation is illustrated in good detail:
- It is clearly more difficult ( it is in Augustine himself a late development )
- It is elaborated. You have not only the proposal of Christ as Rock there. This is precisely the point I hope will be dealt with by Atemi, or by yourself. Let’s see “its implications”. See, please, post 11.
He then says “let the reader choose which of these is more likely to be true”. That doesn’t allow for a “these are both true” approach.
He doesn’t. He does state that the majority of his teaching on the subject was on the second interpretation, as opposed to the first, and he does not recant that later teaching. What he does do is explain that while he did explain it in one way a single time, he explained it in another way a great many times.
Actually, as I understand it (from looking up definitions of words and looking at a few translations of texts), it would actually mean “Let the reader choose between these which is more probable.” That implies that there is one that is right, and one that is not, and that he leaves it to the reader to select for themselves what they believe. It does not imply that one is more important than the other. It says (fairly explicitly) that one is more probable of being right. And that the reader has to choose between them indicates that both are not right at the same time, for if they were, no choice would be necessary.
Thus, at the very least, we know that Augustine did not hold to both interpretations being correct.
We are not told whether the first explanation was tought just once. But we agree, that’s not the point.
It seems to me you got correctly the letter of Augustine’s words.
Let the reader … which is more probable". What I fail to see, is that the spirit of these words is that one of the two explanations, namely the first one, has to be wrong.
- The passage really doesn’t say the first interpretation is repudiated. Moreover, we see how the second explanation is introduced: “But I realize that …”. Now, reconsidering this particular issue with attention, the great man realizes the presence of the two explanations in his teaching. It does not work like this with errors. About an error you just change your mind, you are aware of that from the time you correct it.
- Is it that the man doesn’t like admitting errors, even now ? The very goal of the Retractationes is to explain what Augustine wants to leave as heritage, and what has to be, if necessary changed. Even later than in the Retractationes ( see “On the predestination of the Saints”, ch. 7) he openly declares that he had been in error concerning the grace of God. Not a minor issue in augustinian theology !
So, there is no binary logic here, something true versus something false.
None of the explanations is proposed here as false.
None of them is proposed as absolutely true. They are reproposed in the Retractationes, both of them, as good explanations, each with a degree of certainty. It’s up to us to choose which one, in our view, can have a higher degree of certainty.
Thank you for contributing.