Revealing the Christ: Understanding Augustine’s “Allegory”, by Paul Krause

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” ~John 15:13
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Archbishop Ganswein celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form in Rome, 2017. (photo: Edward Pentin)

By Paul Krause, Crisis Magazine, Aug. 28, 2021

Paul Krause a teacher, writer, and campus minister. He is the author of The Odyssey of Love: A Christian Guide to the Great Books (Wipf and Stock, 2021).

The City of God is no ordinary work of Christian theology. It is one of the most influential works of Christian theology ever written. Reading St. Augustine’s work can be difficult—the size, alone, can be off-putting and burdensome. But reading Augustine is always a treat and insightful, especially when realizing wisdom and insight that enriches one’s own spiritual life.

Since the mid-twentieth century, it has become common to hear about the “figurative” and “allegorical” approach to Scripture employed by the Church Fathers. Augustine, due to his orthodoxy, is generally one of the most oft-cited examples of this tradition. One of the problems, however, with claiming the allegorical approach is the misleading perceptions that it might suggest for contemporary readers. …

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