Monday, June 11, 2007

Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning...

particularly when the part of Carolina one is visiting happens to be Asheville. I'm off to Mount Pisgah for a hike tomorrow up off the Blue Ridge Parkway. I'm not entirely certain of it, but I think Augustine may be sweeter when read in the mountains of my home state. I suppose we'll find out, eh?

After this trip (which I'm taking with a friend who also happens to be a medievalist -- medievalists on mountains...this could be interesting), I'm heading to Florida on Wednesday, and won't return until the following Monday. I should be tan, finished with everything I ever plan to read about Augustine, and back to blogging when I get back.

However, a snippet from my orals reading that I thought was particularly interesting. It's from City of God, Book XI, Chapter 14. What caught my eye about this is that it bears interesting relation to Bakhtin's concept of the dialogism of the "living word" -- in fact, capitalize that "w" and it would be downright eerie. But the idea that every utterance is spoken in response to a future utterance not yet articulated (that was rough, but will do for now) definitely seems present in this section of Augustine's text, albeit more than a thousand years before Bakhtin wrote. Now that's dialogue for you. I'm still trying to work this out -- but it's certainly a bit I'll be pondering more in the next few days, and I offer it up for you, gentle blog readers, for your pondering as well.

As if in answer to a question from us, the Lord added an indication of the reason why the Devil did not 'hold fast to the truth.' He says, 'because there is no truth in him.' Now there would be truth in him, if he had stood fast to it. But the expression in unusual in form. It says, on the surface, 'He did not hold fast to the truth, because there is not truth in him.' Which seems to be saying that the absences of truth in him was the cause of his failure to stand fast, whereas the fact is that his failure to stand fast is the cause of the absence of truth. We find the same way of speaking in one of the psalms, 'I cried out because you, Lord, have listened to me'; where it seems that the psalmist should have said, 'You have listened to me, Lord, because I cried out.' In saying 'I cried out' he appears to be answering the question, 'Why did you cry out?' But, in fact, the verse shows the affecting character of his cry by its effect in winning the attention of God. It is tantamount to saying, 'I prove that I cried out by the fact that you listened to me.'

And now, on to vacation. See you all on the other side.