Kenneth M. Wilson

Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to »Non-free Free Will«

A Comprehensive Methodology

[Augustinusʼ Gesinnungswandel von der traditionellen Wahlfreiheit zur »deterministischen Willensfreiheit«. Eine umfassende Methodik.]

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ISBN 978-3-16-155753-8
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Published in English.
Was Augustine of Hippo's prior adherence to Stoic, Manichaean, and Neoplatonic philosophies instrumental in his change in theology about 412 CE as he fought the Pelagians? Kenneth M. Wilson applies the comprehensive methodology of reading systematically and chronologically through Augustine's entire extant corpus demonstrating that Augustine revised numerous books several decades after writing them.
The consensus view asserts Augustine developed his later doctrines ca. 396 CE while writing Ad Simplicianum as a result of studying scripture. His early De libero arbitrio argued for traditional free choice refuting Manichaean determinism, but his anti-Pelagian writings rejected any human ability to believe without God giving faith. Kenneth M. Wilson's study is the first work applying the comprehensive methodology of reading systematically and chronologically through Augustine's entire extant corpus (works, sermons, and letters 386–430 CE), and examining his doctrinal development. The author explores Augustine's later theology within the prior philosophical-religious context of free choice versus deterministic arguments. This analysis demonstrates Augustine persisted in traditional views until 412 CE and his theological transition was primarily due to his prior Stoic, Neoplatonic, and Manichaean influences.

Kenneth M. Wilson Born 1956; 1981 Doctorate in Medicine from The University of Texas Medical School; 1989–95 Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Oregon Health Sciences University; 2003 M.Div.; 2006 Th.M.; 2012 D.Phil. in Theology from the University of Oxford; currently a Board Certified Orthopaedic Hand Surgeon in Salem, Oregon and Professor of Church History and Systematic Theology at Grace School of Theology in The Woodlands, Texas.


The following reviews are known:

In: Bibel und Gemeinde — (Benjamin Lange)
In: Augustinus — (9/2019)
In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 144 (2019), S. 920–922 (Johannes Stoffers)
In: Revue d'histoire écclesiastique — 114 (2019), S. 848–850 (Anthony Dupont)
In: Augustiniana — 69 (2019), S. 500–502 (Giulio Malavasi)
In: Reading Religion — (Catherine Tobey)
In: Zeitschr. f. Kirchengeschichte — 129 (2018), S. 397–399 (Karla Pollmann)
In: Journal of Early Christian Studies — 28 (2020), S.155–157 (Jarred Mercer)