Yakouch: The name of god among the Berbers of medieval times

According to an ancient religious manuscript called “Kitab el Barbariyya” written between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries, the Arabs and the Arabic language were completely absent from the North African vocabulary, but that of “Taserghint” was omnipresent. The document is probably one of the oldest Amazigh manuscripts still available.
This manuscript is said to exist in only four copies, one of which is the property of the Italian linguist Vermando Brugnatelli. He is considered to be one of the most learned and leading scholars of the Amazigh language.
This manuscript is said to have circulated for a long time in Ibadi circles in Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria. It is also quite voluminous since it contains nearly nine hundred pages, written in Tamazight and transcribed in so-called Arabic characters. It is considered to be probably the oldest Berber manuscript known to date.
The origin of this manuscript called “Kitab El Barbariyya” dates back to the late middle ages. The aim of the document was to explain the point of view of the religion which was in force in the region and to facilitate religious practice in accordance with this rite. The manuscript was written for the general public. The use of the word “Aserghin” in this manuscript must surely indicate a movement of thought at the time. Maybe the North African Sarazzin.
Vocables disappeared.
The Amazigh language of this manuscript “Book of Berber” reveals to us words that have disappeared and which are no longer used today. But on the whole, it reflects the Zenet language still used today in North Africa, from Libya to Morocco, via Tunisia and Algeria”. In addition to the ancient Berber words, we find there interesting names that the ancient Amazighs gave for the religion of the time known today as Islam by falsification of history, called “Aykuzen”, and one of the names of God “Ababay” .
These words forgotten today reflect a part of Amazigh history, since “AyKuzen” is derived from a North African deity called Yakush. This is also the origin of the name of the Moroccan city Marrakech, whose Berber name is “Amour N Yakouch” which means the land of Yakouch, name of a god among North Africans from Morocco to Libya. On the other hand, that one of the names of God was Ababay indicates the Christian influence in those centuries, since Christians are the only ones to call God their Father, or Abba, as stipulated in the Bible. This manuscript, therefore, contains, in addition to information on the religious rite, valuable information on important elements of the Amazigh language and history. We thus find plenty of words that have somewhat disappeared like Youch (God), baba Ennegh (Our Father, Lord or Master), Iser (Prophet), Adaymun (Demon), Tifellas (People of the Book, Jews, and Christians), etc. The monotheistic Berbers of the late Middle Ages, from Morocco to Siwa in Egypt called their god by the name of Yakkouch.
Bism n Yakouch: in the name of God.
Moqqar Yakouch: God is great.
Our d am Yakouch: there is no such thing as him.
Iddjen Yakouch: God is one.

On the other hand, the word Aserghin comes directly from the term “Sarrazin”. In the manuscript “Kitab El Barbariyya”, the word “Arabic” does not appear at any time. This name must have been completely unknown to the Amazighs of the time. The words “Aserghin”, “Taserghint” and “Iserghinen” were widely used, as they were in use in the Siwa Valley in Egypt, and in Figuig in Morocco. The word “Arab” was imposed later since it was not until the 14th century that there was an agreement between Spanish clerics that Arabs had invaded Africa and Spain.
In this manuscript, there is also irrefutable proof that the ancient Berbers called themselves “Imazighen”, and called their language “Tamazight”. There is no trace of the word “Berber” (apart from the title of the book itself).
The Amazighs were certainly proud of their name and revered it all along. The word Amazigh means free men.
It is a religious Catholic of late antiquity, Saint Augustine himself, Amazigh but Christian, who gave them the name: barbarians.
The document can be found on the academia.educ websit “Kitab el Barbariyya”

1 Comment

  • Western and Eastern thoughts are the products of two North Africans. Initially the two thinkers were Christians. Trinitarian and unitary Christianity. The so-called Western thought is the product of the thinker known worldwide and recognized as the architect of the Trinitarian Christian thought: Saint Augustine.
    The other is at the origin of the Eastern thought of Unitarian Christianity: Arius. The latter saw his work destroyed without leaving the slightest trace of his writings, but which were added by the Goths who introduced the notion of holy war called jihad, later attributed to a legend Mohammed.
    Here, a presentation of the Berber at the origin of Catholicism, Saint Augustine.

    Augustine’s influence on the Western world.
    This article discusses the influence Augustine of Hippo had on the Western world both theologically, philosophically and culturally.
    Influence until the 12th century.
    Augustine and the passage from ancient culture to the Middle Ages.
    In the Middle Ages, two Christian civilizations whose area of ​​influence covered that of two great languages ​​or their derivatives, namely Latin and Greek, shared Europe. In fact, this linguistic separation began in the Late Empire. Augustine, a master of the Latin language, does not read Greek fluently. For Henri-Irénée Marrou, Augustine is the Father of the West and holds the role that Origin plays in Eastern Christianity (Greek, and Russian in particular).

    Even during Augustine’s lifetime, his work circulated in particular through a network of disciples such as Paulin de Nole or Prosper d’Aquitaine, one of the secretaries of Pope Leo I. At his death, his disciples fight against the semi-Pelagianism of Jean Cassien who will be condemned in 529, and also against monks from Lérins and Marseille. After him, with the exception of Gregory the Great, there will be no more intellectual personality of his stature in what will be the Christian West. Isidore of Seville sees in him the first of all the Fathers of the Church, while the work of Césaire d’Arles is deeply marked by Augustine of Hippo.

    Augustine inspires through the rule of Saint Augustine which still governs many religious orders or congregations today, one of the two great monarchical currents which is also developing in the West, the other being inspired by Jean Cassien. If doubts about the exact wording of the rule of Saint Augustine remain, the Augustinian inspiration is not in doubt.

    Augustine and the divide between Western and Orthodox Christianity
    The writings of Augustine were unknown in the Christian East until the end of the thirteenth century (time of the first translations into Greek of Maxim Planude) and the preponderant place he occupies among the Fathers for the Latins cannot be recognized. by Orthodox Christians. For the latter, “the too exclusive recourse to Saint Augustine is certainly one of the causes which contributed the most to later separate the West from the rest of the Christian world”.

    In fact, in Augustine’s work, we find the roots of the main points of divergence between the Latin Church and the Orthodox Church: conception of the Trinitarian life from human psychology; understanding theology (God in Himself) from the economics of salvation; identification of the divine essence and attributes allowing a knowledge of God far removed from the apophatism dear to the Eastern Fathers (for whom the divine essence is unknowable); doctrine of Filioque; doctrine of purgatory; devaluation of the will and of human freedom which introduces a conception of asceticism and spiritual life far removed from that of the Christian East (based on the synergy of grace and human effort); conception of intermediaries created between God and Man (theophanies) which inaugurates the Latin theory of created grace; particular conception of original sin and predestination which will open the door to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception …
    Augustine and Christianity until the Renaissance of the twelfth century.
    During this period, Augustine comes right after the apostles in the Christian West. His work, the City of God, not always well understood, serves as a melting pot for the political and social order that is taking shape. His aura is such during this period that any quality anonymous work is attributed to him by copyists, so that his already voluminous work grows even more. For example, he is credited with the Meditations, which we will later discover to be the work of Jean de Fécamp.

    Boethius (480-526) takes up Augustinian themes by giving them a more technical turn, more based on the Aristotelian logic which underlies the Platonic tradition of Proclus (410-485) and Ammonios (son of Hermias). Later works Periphyseon also called De divisione nature, and De prædestione by John Scot Erigene (810-870), are also marked by Augustine’s thought.
    Augustine and Christianity until the Renaissance of the twelfth century.
    During this period, Augustine comes just after the apostles in the Christian West8. His work the City of God, not always well understood, serves as a melting pot for the political and social order that is being established8. His aura is such during this period that any anonymous work of quality is attributed to him by the copyists so that his already voluminous work continues to grow. For example, he is credited with the Meditations which we will later discover are the work of Jean de Fécamp.

    Boethius (480-526) takes up Augustinian themes by giving them a more technical turn, more based on the Aristotelian logic which underlies the Platonic tradition of Proclus (410-485) and Ammonios (son of Hermias) 10. Later the works Periphyseon also called De divisione nature, and De prædestione by Jean Scot Érigène (810-870), are also marked by the thought of Augustine .

    Augustine inspired in the middle of the eleventh century not only Anselm of Canterbury and Abelard but also their adversaries: Pierre Damien and Bernard of Clairvaux. However, if we are to believe Henri-Irénée Marrou, it was the school of the abbey of Saint-Victor around Guillaume de Champeaux which in the twelfth century was the most “closely inspired by Augustinism”. If communities of canons regular continue to follow the rule of Augustine – which will inspire the rule of the Dominicans in the thirteenth century – the Benedictine rule of Benedict of Aniane and Bernard of Clairvaux is essential in the monasteries.

    During the following period, the thought of Augustine will remain very present thanks to the Book of the sentences of Pierre Lombard (1095-1160) which will dominate the learning of theology until the end of the thirteenth century.
    Presence of Augustine from the 12th to the 15th century.
    until the end of the twelfth century the West only had access to Aristotle’s logic. After this date the entire work becomes accessible to Western literati thanks to translations from Arabic and Greek12. The consequences are twofold. 1) Belles-lettres – one of Augustin’s strong points – receded in favor of pure philosophy. 2) The thought of Augustine who until then reigned supreme declines, Aristotle becomes “the Philosopher” while the Platonism and the neo-Platonism which so permeated Augustine’s thought are losing their influence.

    The thought of Aristotle deeply marks the work of Thomas Aquinas which tends to become the reference of Western Christianity. This resulted in heated controversies between Augustinians and Thomists, who in the thirteenth century opposed three major religious orders: on the one hand the Dominicans rallied to Thomas Aquinas, on the other the Franciscans around Bonaventure and Duns Scotus – as well as the great Augustinians around Gilles of Rome and Gregory of Rimini13. This is called the Correctia14 controversy. The relationship between the thoughts of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas is complex. According to Henri-Irénée Marrou, Thomas Aquinas incorporates into his “systematic and in a way radical Aristotelicism […] entire sections of Augustinism”: Thomas Aquinas would fight an “avicenizing Augustinism” and an “Averoist Aristotelianism”
    Regarding the controversy itself, if we do not need to simplify the very subtle debate, there are nonetheless two notable points of divergence: the Franciscans accept with adjustments the “teachings of Augustine concerning the illumination. divine, the power of the soul and the seminal reason ” thus its voluntarism .

    By “enlightenment” they mean that the human mind needs the presence of divine rules and reasons. By the idea of seminal reason which comes from Stoicism, they underline that “Augustine teaches that God infused in the matter at the time of creation, intelligible standards which can be actualized” N 3, just as a seed makes it possible to produce a new plant. On the question of voluntarism, for W.F. Stone, there is no real difference between the protagonists concerning moral psychology, but differences on the importance of this voluntarism “.
    Augustine and the Western world from the sixteenth to the seventeenth century
    The thought of Augustine is very present in the sixteenth century and in the seventeenth century, two centuries of intense debates “on freedom, grace, on the powerlessness of man without God”. For Jean Delumeau, these debates can be explained by the fact that the great difficulties of the time (the Hundred Years War, the Black Death, the Great Schism, the Turkish threat, etc.) created a bad conscience in Europe, a feeling that “alone sin could explain all these misfortunes ”. It is this need which would explain the success of Calvinism and Lutheranism: as with Augustine they have a vision of Man that some would call realistic and others would qualify as gloomy or pessimistic. For Jean Delumeau, this trait would make the humanists – Nicolas de Cues, Marsile Ficin, Pic de la Mirandole, Thomas More, etc. – who have a fairly optimistic conception of Man and who do not insist on the notion of sin, would meet less well the needs for renewal of the time.

    Augustine and Protestantism
    The publication of the first critical edition of Augustine’s work by Johann Amerbach in 1506 gave the Reformers direct access to his thought20. However, its real influence is debated. WF Stone believes that while they make much of Augustine’s theories of election and disapproval as well as those of justification and will, “the more positive elements of his anthropology and theory of grace are overlooked.” or underestimated ”.

    Martin Luther
    Luther, himself an Augustinian monk at the start of his career, was influenced both by the work of Johann von Staupitz, a Neo-Augustinian, and by Augustine himself. In his biblical commentaries, Luther refers 270 times to Augustine’s work. However, if Luther is inspired by Augustine, he also brings his own touch. The closeness of the two men is particularly notable on at least three points:

    the theory of grace. For Luther, if grace can be granted to all those who have faith, man is not relieved of his sins, simply these are no longer carried to his liabilities;
    the question of the Inner Man. On this point, from 1520-1521, Luther, in his writing On the Freedom of the Christian, approaches, with nuances, the thought of Augustine. If for Augustine the interior Man is created at the same time in the image and the likeness of God, while the exterior Man – the body – “possesses an excellence and a predisposition to contemplation which also makes him, in a certain meaning, an image of God ”; for Luther a prudent asceticism allows the outer man to adjust himself to the inner man who is “created by God” ;
    Luther takes up Augustine’s opposition between City of God and City of Men by centering it on the primacy of Christ. This is how he distinguishes a Kingdom of God, “that of grace, of faith, of love, of the word of God, of the evangelical precepts”, of the kingdom of the world, “that of the temporal sword, of the law, of the Decalogue ” : if the true Christians who belong to the Kingdom of God do not need laws because they are governed by the spirit, the others, those of the world, must be framed by the law; so that in this way Luther lays down the principles of the legitimacy of temporal power.

    Jean Calvin

    Jean Calvin is deeply imbued with the work of Augustine, in particular the City of God, which he studied from May 1532 to October 153326. In his major work, the Institution, he cites 1700 times Augustine while de facto he refers to it without citing it 2,400 other times27. Generally speaking, Augustine has a quadruple influence on Calvin:

    he is the author who led him towards the Reformation. In this journey, Luchesius Smits insists on the influence of Augustine’s text entitled De la lettre et de esprit (De spiritu et littera) on Calvin;
    the sacrament is for Calvin what it is for Augustine, whose formula he uses a “visible word”. It is not effective in itself, it is only “the instrument of God authorizing spiritual communion” ;
    Calvin takes from Augustine his exclusivist approach, that is to say that for the two authors, heresies must be fought. Denis Crouzet notes that for Jean Calvin “God gave the sword to the magistrates to defend the truth of God when need be, punishing the heretics who overthrow it”;
    Calvin was also inspired by Augustine for everything related to the law, penance, merit and predestination, notions which in Augustine form a system28. However, Calvin develops a theory of grace harder than Augustine by forgetting the possibilities of regeneration – of starting over – present in the thought of the Bishop of Hippo. For Luchesius Smits, this difference of appreciation would be due to the fact that in Augustine love is positive – is action towards – while in Calvin it is passive, it is “God’s condescension towards us”.

    Augustin and the French 17th century
    Jean Dagens, a specialist on Pierre de Bérulle, considers that “the seventeenth century is the century of Saint Augustine” 29 founded on “Augustinian Christianity” which considers that human degradation, since original sin, is inherent in our natural condition.

    Nevertheless, Augustin’s writings influenced the poetry of the end of the sixteenth century, notably with Chassignet, La Ceppède and Pierre de Croix, continuers of four translators: Jacques de Billy, Jean Guyot, Pierre Tamisier and Gentien Hervet. This phase is analyzed as a transition between translation and paraphrase, including apocryphal treatises.

    Augustine and classical literature
    The very Augustinian seventeenth century began shortly after the publication of the Complete Works of Augustin by the old University of Louvain in 1577 and ended with another complete edition, that of the Benedictines of Saint-Maur (in 1679-1700). Between these two dates, Augustin’s works were also translated by men of letters often members of the French Academy, such as Guillaume Colletet, translator of La doctrine chretienne in 1636, Louis Giry, translator of the City of God (1665- 1667), or Philippe Goibaud du Bois, translator in particular of Letters (1684) and Sermons (1694). These men admire the lyricism and the poetic quality of Augustine’s work .

    However, Augustine’s strong influence on the French seventeenth century was only really seen very recently with the publication in 1963 of Pierre Courcelle’s work Les “Confessions” de saint Augustin dans la tradition littéraire, followed by Pascal and Saint Augustin in 1970 and La Rochefoucauld, Pascal and Saint Augustin by Jean Lafond – and many other works. In 1982, the journal Société d’études du XVIIe siècle devoted a special number to what it called “The Century of Saint Augustine”.
    Augustine’s influence on literature is felt on several levels. Through his book Christian Doctrine, Augustine deeply marked the great preachers of the century of Louis XIV such as Bossuet even if the influences of Cicero and Seneca are also perceptible. Concerning secular literature, the thought of Plato taken up by Augustine, made up of hostility to fiction, has two effects.

    On the one hand, it led the toughest Augustinians, the Jansenists of Port-Royal, to criticize Pierre Corneille and to reject the theater and the novel. On the other hand, in a more positive way, it pushes French classicism to demand from literary art “the true, and a true-who-is-good, which lifts the soul”. Indeed, in connection with what Augustine recommends in De Doctrina christina, IV, the human being must be made capable of facing realities.

    In imitation of Augustine’s Confessions, the century will be rich in autobiographies. On the Jansenist side, it is possible to cite the Memoirs of Sieur Pontis (1676) and, on the non-Jansenist side, the life of Queen Christine by herself; dedicated to God (1686). Philippe Sellier analyzes René Descartes’ discourse on the method as a “true intellectual autobiography […] which is perhaps not unrelated to the approach of the Confessions even if Descartes denies it”. Similarly, the birth or rather the rebirth of William Shakespeare’s tragedy in Racine is linked to a very Augustinian theme, the “debate on freedom and grace, on the powerlessness of man without God”.

    For Philippe Sellier, Augustin’s thought radiates at least seven themes that are frequently found in classical writers. She marks five of them quite dark as she shines and illuminates the other two. Among the dark themes there is first (1) what a literary critic, Jean Rousset, has qualified as “black inconstancy”, that is to say the theme of the instability of the world which is inspired by Augustine’s prose poem in Psalm 136, titled On the Rivers of Babylon. On this theme Pascal, opposing Babylon and Zion, writes: “The rivers of Babylon flow and fall, and cause. O holy Zion, where everything is stable, and where nothing falls! Then (2) the theme of the “demolition of the hero” which comes from Augustine’s mistrust of the heroic virtues of Rome.

    Associated with this theme there is (3) the idea that virtue can only be a disguised vice, an idea that we find like the previous one in The City of God, an idea present in particular, also, in comedies by Molière39. Associated with Augustine’s gloomy vision of human nature, there is (4) a rather disillusioned vision of the functioning of political life which springs from the political works of Hobbes and Pascal and in the morals of La Rochefoucauld and Pierre Nicole40. Finally (5) the way in which Augustin reduces love to sensuality is taken up by Pascal and Bossuet, while in La Princesse de Clèves, Madame de Lafayette secularizes the love that Augustine intended for God40.

    On the Enlightenment side, the century is marked by the idea of ​​a return to oneself – Know thyself – so strong in Augustin, and consequently reflects a lot on the soul41. The century was also marked by the Augustinian idea of ​​an interior God, who, to quote Pascal, “fills the soul and the heart of those he possesses” 41.

    Augustinian Catholicisms in the 17th century
    The French School of Spirituality
    At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the French School of Spirituality, essentially represented by the Society of the Oratory of Jesus founded in 1611 by Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle, a close friend of Saint-Cyran, sought to put Augustinian theology into practice without to really focus on the problem of grace as the Jansenists would do later. It is a question, through the adoration of Christ the Savior, of bringing souls to a state of humility before God.
    Jansenism has a more marked Augustinism on two main points:

    Saint-Cyran insists, in his writings, on the necessity for the Christian of a true “interior conversion”, only means according to him to be able to receive the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist. This very Augustinian idea of conversion is based on the technique of “renewals”, where the state of conversion reached, the penitent must make the graces he has received bear fruit by leading a retired life43. On the contrary, Richelieu and the Jesuits support the thesis of attrition, that is to say that for them, “regret for sins based on the sole fear of hell” is sufficient44;
    Jansenius in his theological work Augustinus emphasizes the Augustinian theory of grace and predestination45. Jansenius and Antoine Arnauld, who defends Augustinus, are the real introducers and propagators of Jansenism in France.
    Augustin, Descartes, Grotius, Malebranche and Leibniz.

    Augustin et Descartes
    Augustine is the very first Western philosopher to base his thought on the I and on this point, Descartes with a thought based on the Cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am) follows Augustine46. Another element of proximity of the two men: the conception of the spirit. For both, as René Descartes writes, it is “something that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, wants, does not want, which imagines, which has sensory perceptions” 47. However, on this point a difference in size separates them. In fact, unlike Descartes, for Augustine living is a function of the mind.

    This has important metaphysical consequences: when Augustine asks himself, like Descartes, the question “how do I know that I am not dreaming?” He only treats her rhetorically to contradict the skeptics, but he does not really consider the possibility of the dream. On the contrary, Descartes, who wants to reconstruct knowledge, must ask himself the question of whether there is a physical world independent of the mind48.

    For Stephen Menn, Book IV of Descartes’ meditations can be seen as an Augustinian theodicy based on error of judgment.
    Augustin, Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) and the concept of just war.

    For Gareth B. Matthews, there is a profound irony in considering Augustine the father of just war. There are several reasons for this. First of all, Augustine is hardly original and draws a lot of inspiration from Cicero and Ambrose of Milan. In addition, the elements making it possible to distinguish what makes a just or unjust war are not very structured. Finally, Augustine, usually very concerned about the interior life, presents on this point a rather exterior approach to the problem; he considers, for example, that a soldier who kills on the order of a legitimate superior is not responsible for the deaths he causes unless this is the consequence of a love of violence. Generally speaking, Augustine’s approach to the question is rather partial. In fact, unlike Hugo Grotius, Augustine only considers jus ad bellum, that is to say the correctness of the entry into the war, without taking into account jus in bello, that is to say – to speak of the just conduct of war. Despite everything, Hugo Grotius, in his book De Jure belli ac pacis, refers approximately 150 times to Augustine.
    Augustin and Malebranche
    Nicolas Malebranche recognizes the influence of Augustin not only on his thought but also on his very desire “to propose a new philosophy of ideas”. But Malebranche claims a divergence: “however we do not proclaim, as Saint Augustine does, that we see God by seeing the truths, but by seeing the ideas of these truths …” The bottom of the problem is that then Augustine does not does not care about the human world, about corruptible bodies, Malebranche wants to take care of the world here below through the essences of these elements that he sees as eternal, immutable and necessary, so that for Steven Nadler, Malebranche adds to the Augustine’s doctrine of enlightenment a second dimension: “a theory of our knowledge of nature (not of its existence), of the material world around us”.
    Augustin and Leibniz
    Leibniz takes up the three key ideas of Augustine’s response to the problem of evil:

    “Evil is a deprivation, a lack, a ‘nothing’. “;
    “Natural evil, although horrible in itself, is part of an order, which like any order is marvelous. “;
    “Moral evil is the result of free will, without which there would be no moral good. ”
    For Gareth B. Matthews, Leibniz is much more “elegant” than Augustine in his distinction between hypothetical necessity and absolute necessity. The idea is that God has foreseen everything even what does not happen, so one has to distinguish between what is possible (hypothetical necessity, for example when someone says he will write tomorrow) and absolute necessity which does not. not depend on free choice.
    Augustine and modernity (19th century and after)
    During this period, Augustine’s work remained a source of inspiration and reflection for philosophers, particularly in the fields of linguistics, phenomenology and political philosophy. On the other hand, in the religious field, the bishop of Hippo was marginalized on the theological level in favor of neothomism, even if an important philosopher and theologian of the time, Étienne Gilson, devoted a book to him.

    Among the religious, especially Christians, he is sometimes considered as the father, one might say, of the original sins of Christianity, that is to say as the one who would be at the origin of all that they abhor in this religion. It was only at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century that Christianity seemed to take an interest in Augustine again, as evidenced by two writings of Benedict XVI, as well as the interest shown in him by philosophers like Alain de Libera and Jean-Luc Marion, who lead a reflection on his theology as part of an exit from metaphysics.
    Augustine and the Philosophers
    John Stuart Mill
    John Stuart Mill is closer to Augustine than to Descartes on two points. First of all, Descartes supposes without demonstrating that there are other minds than his own. On the contrary, both Mill and Augustine consider it necessary, with similar arguments, to proceed to this demonstration. On this point, Augustine goes further than Mill “by attributing to animals an instinctive recognition of what the human mind is”. Moreover, unlike Descartes, Mill and Augustin believe that the spirit animates the body.
    Ludwig Wittgenstein, in his “post tractatus” writings, accuses Augustine of assuming that an adequate definition of a problematic philosophical term sheds light on the problem, making him a naive linguist for whom the meaning of the word is confused with the thing, the object it designates. In reality, Augustine, in the dialogue which features his late son Adéodat, is very sensitive to the paradoxical nature of language and words. Its fundamental thesis is that language does not teach, but that it is experience, or reason, that is to say Christ, which infuses words with the corresponding knowledge. In fact by attacking Augustine on this point, for authors like G.P. Baker and P.M.S. Hacker, Wittgenstein also attacks Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, and probably his own work the Tractatus; in other words: a “self-criticism, or better, the criticism of the first Wittgenstein by the second.”
    Augustine and phenomenology and its suit.
    Augustine’s method of philosophy as it unfolds particularly in the Confessions exerts a lasting influence throughout the twentieth century on continental philosophy. His descriptive way of accounting for how intentionality, memory and language are experienced within the consciousness of time, anticipated and inspired key points in phenomenology and hermeneutics60. Edmund Husserl writes on this subject: “The analysis of the consciousness of time is an old classic knot of descriptive psychology and the theory of knowledge. The first thinker to have been extremely sensitive to these immense difficulties is Augustine, who worked almost desperately on this problem ”.

    Martin Heidegger repeatedly refers to Augustine’s descriptive philosophy in his book Being and Time. For example, the theme of “how-to-be-in-the-world” is exposed as follows: “The particular, alternative nature of seeing was noted in particular by Augustine, within the framework of his interpretation of concupiscence. Heidegger then quotes the Confessions: “Seeing is the attribute of the eyes, but we even use this word ‘seeing’ in other senses when we speak of knowledge… We don’t just say see how this shines… we even say see how that sounds ”.

    Augustine and Arendt
    Hannah Arendt’s first philosophical writing, her thesis, deals with The Concept of Love in Augustin, Der Liebesbegriff bei Augustin (1929): in this work, “the young Arendt wants to show that the foundation of social life in Augustine can to be understood as residing in a love of neighbor rooted in the understanding of the common origin of humanity ”. Jean Bethke Elshtain in Augustine and the Limits of Politics finds similarities between Augustine and Arendt’s conceptions of evil: “Augustine does not see evil as something demonically enchanting but rather as the absence of good, as something paradoxically being nothing. Arendt […] likewise considers the extreme evil which produced the holocaust as simply commonplace in his book Eichmann in Jerusalem ”.

    In her book The Crisis of Culture, Hannah Arendt sees Augustine as the only philosopher Rome ever had. She considers that the fulcrum of Augustinian philosophy, “Sedis animi est in memoria (The seat of the spirit is in memory)”, allowed Christianity to repeat “the foundation of Rome […] in the foundation of the Catholic Church ”by taking up on another level“ the Roman trinity of religion, authority and tradition ”. For this philosopher, if one touches one of the three pillars of this trinity, the other two are affected. She believes that Luther made the mistake of thinking that one could touch authority without reviewing the other two pillars. Hobbes did the same this time by attacking tradition, and the humanists made the mistake “of thinking that it would be possible to remain within an unbroken tradition of Western civilization without religion and without authority ”.
    Augustine and the modern political philosophy
    Augustine’s contributions.
    For Hannah Arendt, it was Augustine who allowed Christian thought to emerge from its early anti-politics. In this regard, for her, what is decisive is the idea of ​​City of God which, because city, implies the existence of a life in community, and therefore of a kind of politics in the world. -of the. For Louis Dumont, compared to other philosophers of Antiquity, Augustine will restrict the scope of the laws of nature and extend the field of providence and the will of God. This will result in a weaker scope given to the city, to the republic, and a greater role given to the Church.

    Louis Dumont notes several points in Augustin’s political philosophy which herald modern individualism: on the one hand, by placing faith, that is to say “religious experience, at the foundation of rational thought”, Augustin announces the modern era that Dumont sees “as a gigantic effort to reduce the abyss initially given between reason and experience” and on the other hand, Augustin insists on equality between men with accents that we will find again. later at John Locke.

    Finally, compared to Cicero we find in Augustine a stronger emphasis on individualism. He insists more on the fact that the City, the Respublica, the State we would say now, is made up of individuals, not by an organism. Likewise, his conception of order and law leaves a more important place for man. Dumont notes that when Augustine writes in the Contra Faustum: “The eternal law is the divine reason or will of God, which commands to preserve the natural order and forbids to disturb it”, he adds in relation to Cicero the words “will” and “natural order” so that we can understand that if God gives the Order, the laws certainly come from God but are in the hands of men.
    The controversy over political Augustinism
    The expression was coined in the twentieth century by H.X. Arquillière in a work entitled Augustinisme politique. According to this thesis the City of God would have served to “justify the papal primacy (from Gregory VII to Boniface VIII”) since according to Arquillière Augustinism in general would consist of a tendency “to merge the natural order and the supernatural order, to absorb the first into the second ”. In the seventeenth century, Bossuet took up these same theses in favor of royal absolutism.

    The problem is that under the term Augustinism we do not seek to find what could be the essence of Augustine’s thought, but we classify all the developments to which Augustine’s thought gave rise by including ” the real misinterpretations and caricatures that each era has committed in re-reading Augustine ”. In this case, this is what is happening here.

    Indeed, in Augustine the two cities are not the temporal Church nor the power of the States because, as Étienne Gilson notes, they “recruit their citizens by the sole law of divine predestination. All men are part of one or the other, because they are predestined for bliss with God, or for misery with the devil ”. In fact, what is called political Augustinism distinguishes not the City of God and the Terrestrial City but is haunted by the conflict of the Middle Ages between the spiritual and temporal powers, the two wanting to dominate the other by proposing their version. of the fusion of the spiritual and the temporal, both claiming to be Augustine.
    Influence of the City of God
    Two authors who participated in the establishment of the new world order after 1945 wrote books referring to Augustine’s City of God: Wilhelm Röpke, one of the fathers of ordoliberalism, wrote in 1944 Civitas Humana, and Lionel Curtis wrote a book in 1938 called Civitas Dei: The Commonwealth of God (1938). Lionel Curtis differs from Augustin on two key points. While Augustine distinguishes the world and the Kingdom of God, Curtis distinguishes the principle of authority – he accuses Augustine of having taken it from the Romans – and the commonwealth principle more focused on discussion, conscience and reason. On the other hand, he accuses Augustine of having artificially separated politics and religion.

    For Professor Deepak Lal, the City of God influenced secular projects and traditions of the Enlightenment, as well as Marxism, Freudianism and eco-fundamentalism. Antonio Negri and Michaël Hardt in their book Empire quote Augustine of Hippo and aim to replace the Empire not by a City of God – there is no transcendence among them – but by “a universal city of foreigners, living together, cooperating, communicating ”.

    A critical view of his contribution to Christianity
    Augustine: the evil genius of the West?
    As a foreword to his book Le Dieu d’Augustin, Goulven Madec responds to Jacques Duquesne (writer) who in his book Le Dieu de Jésus takes up many of the allegations often made against Augustine at the end of the twentieth century and at the beginning of the 21st century. For Madec, this challenge to Augustine’s thought concerns seven main points. The first two “the escapades of Augustine” and “Augustine and the women” have already been treated in the article. We will therefore focus on the other five. First of all, “our world” reproaches Augustine for his contempt for the world. But for Goulven Madec, Jesus was already denouncing “The prince of this world” in the Gospel of John. Jacques Duquesne criticizes Augustine for being “the true inventor of original sin”.

    To which Goulven Madec objects that the Bishop of Hippo invented the formula but that the idea is present long before in the Gospel texts. For Augustine, Christ is a redeemer, yet the idea of ​​redemption from original sin seems eccentric to Duquesne and on this point, Goulven Madec notes, seeming to deplore it, that “redemption” is, nowadays, an extinct metaphor. , a “notion” or a “concept” emptied of meaning ”. The fact that for Augustine unbaptized infants would go to hell is seen as shocking. For Goulven Madec, Augustin interprets the texts as he can or wants to understand them and, in his time, we were not at “theological pluralism”. “The merciful”. Augustine, against Origen and our century, does not think that everyone will be saved.
    Relations with Judaism
    None of St. Augustine’s works are addressed directly to the Jews, but the discussion with the Jews is omnipresent in his works. We can also cite texts where he alludes to meetings of Christians with Jews in Africa, where there were many, for example to know the meaning of a Hebrew word.

    Augustine’s image of Judaism will give the traditional theology of Judaism in the West, the theology of substitution, according to which Christianity replaces Judaism as the only true religion. In this he followed the doctrine of Christianity, formulated by Justin of Nablus, Tertullian and John Chrysostom, in particular.

    For Augustine, the teaching contained in the Old and the New Testaments is identical, except that the first, written on the stone of the Tables of the Law, is imposed from outside, while the second is implanted in the deep inside of Man, inscribed in his heart. The adage says: Novum in Veteri latet, Vetus in Novo patet. It is from this theory which insists (against the Manichean) on continuity and permanence, that the theology of the new mission of the Jews is born: they bear witness, by the keeping of the Law, to the prophecies which were fulfilled in the Christ.

    However, if they have the Scripture in their hands, they cannot read it. They hear it without understanding it. Thus, by situating the rupture at the level of the understanding of the Law, Augustine projects the Pelagian problematic on its controversy with Judaism: the Law are works, and the merit of works alone cannot save. There is of course a great misunderstanding of Judaism, where the theology of merit is not limited to works but also includes the merit of the Fathers, the patriarchs.
    The question of the deicide people.
    Following Justin of Nablus and Meliton of Sardis, among others, Augustine considered the Jews to be “the assassins of Christ”, and therefore of God. It was under his influence and under that of John Chrysostom that the doctrine of the “deicide people” spread, a doctrine which was not officially abandoned by Catholicism until after the Shoah, at the time of the Vatican Council II, some 1,600 years ago. late. But this doctrine remains intact in the Orthodox Church. Augustine’s violent accusations, recited every Good Friday during the litany of the Improper, were historically one of the most powerful vectors of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism.

    Augustine writes in particular in his Commentary on the Psalm:

    “Let the Jews not come and say, ‘It was not we who put Christ to death. Because if they delivered him to Pilate’s tribunal, it was to appear innocent of his death. […] But did they think they were deceiving the Sovereign Judge who was God? What Pilate did, in so far as he did, made him in part their accomplice. But if we compare him to them, he is much less guilty. […] If it was Pilate who pronounced the sentence and gave the order to crucify him, if it was he who somehow killed him, you Jews too, you put him to death. […] When you cried: “On the cross! Crossed ! ”

    However, this “deicidal people” must not be assassinated, according to Augustine, because the Jews are at the same time the “witnesses” of the old religion and the object of a humiliation due to their crime: dispersed since the Crucifixion and the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem (almost contemporary events), they constitute living proof of divine punishment. They therefore do not have to be killed since their belittling testifies to this crime. This doctrine is known as the “witness people”.

    “If therefore this people was not destroyed to the point of extinction, but scattered over the whole face of the earth, it is to be useful to us, by spreading the pages in which the prophets proclaim the blessing that we have received, and which serves to strengthen the faith of the infidels. […] So they are not killed, in the sense that they have not forgotten the scriptures that one read and that one heard read at home. If indeed they completely forgot the Holy Scriptures, which they do not understand moreover, they would be put to death according to the Judaic rite itself; because, no longer knowing the law or the prophets, they would become useless to us. They were not therefore exterminated, but dispersed; so that not having the faith that could save them, they would at least be useful to us by their memories. Our enemies by heart, they are by their books, our supports and our witnesses. ”

    In addition, Augustine strongly opposed Saint Jerome when the latter translated the entire Bible into Latin, under the name of “Vulgate”. Jerome used to seek advice from rabbis for the interpretation of certain terms of the Tanakh during his translation, in order to remain as faithful as possible to the “Hebrew truth”, which Augustine reproached him for. Indeed, the word rabbi means master, but there is no other master than Christ.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: