The Son of God is the wisdom of God
Augustine’s love of wisdom drove him to Christ—and wisdom remained central to his thought. Modern biblical scholars and theologians have much to learn from one of Christianity’s most prominent and prolific theologians. Retrieval of Augustine can revive and renew thinking on wisdom.
In Christ, the Way, Benjamin T. Quinn recovers and evaluates Augustine’s rich writing on wisdom. While many have acknowledged sapientia (wisdom) as central in Augustine, few have offered a full treatment of his definition of wisdom and how it ordered his thought. Quinn remedies this need, tracing the development of Augustine’s thought from his earliest reflections to De Trinitate, his most systematic treatment of wisdom. For Augustine, sapientia is the incarnate Christ, who by the Spirit enlightens all God’s people to see clearly, live virtuously, and participate in God—thereby restoring his people to his image. Quinn then brings Augustine into dialogue with contemporary wisdom scholarship, displaying where his biblically rooted, Christocentric, faith-first approach holds rich insights for scholars and Christians today.
When, amidst great distress, Augustine read Romans 13:14 ‘clothe yourself with Jesus Christ’ and was converted, one of the greatest minds of his day entered the kingdom. Augustine bequeathed to us a vast corpus that has been mined for theological insight ever since. Wisdom is a major theme in his writing but it has not received the attention it deserves. It is to the credit of Benjamin that he has attended to this theme closely and in detail across Augustine’s corpus. The results are rich and important and will contribute in a fresh way to Augustine studies.
–Craig G. Bartholomew, senior research fellow, Trinity College, Bristol
Augustine scholars will welcome with gratitude Benjamin Quinn’s Christ the Way. As Goulven Madec observed many years ago, if there be a single unifying theme running through all of the Bishop of Hippo’s writings, it is surely wisdom. With a keen eye ever on the (often overlooked) fact that the exegesis of Scripture grounds all of Augustine’s theology, Quinn charts his own course as he traces with care the development of Augustine’s views on wisdom throughout long career. Born of a mind itself humbled by his encounter with the great Bishop of Hippo, Quinn is a patient reader of Augustine’s evolving views on Christ, ‘the power and wisdom of God’ (1 Cor 1:24). Quinn’s is a rich, insightful, and well‐researched contribution to Augustinian studies.
–Martin Laird, O.S.A., professor of Early Christian Studies, Villanova University
With Christ, the Way, Benjamin Quinn gives readers a much needed portal into Augustine’s sapential theology. From Cicero to Christ, the journey of wisdom in Augustine is well documented but in need of further reflection and reception. Quinn’s work guides readers through the contours of wisdom according to Augustine, while suggesting avenues for further research. It is valuable not only to researchers of Augustine’s thought, but for those wishing to pursue the task of theology in light of the wisdom of Christ.
–Coleman M. Ford, assistant professor of Christian formation, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Studies in Historical and Systematic Theology is a peer-reviewed series of contemporary monographs exploring key figures, themes, and issues in historical and systematic theology from an evangelical perspective.
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Benjamin T. Quinn is associate professor of theology and history of ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and academic director of the BibleMesh Institute. He is author of Walking in God’s Wisdom and pastor of Holly Grove Baptist Church in Spring Hope, North Carolina.