Denominating Augustine. The Controversial Reception of Augustine’s Semiotics in Late Medieval and Early Protestant Scholasticism

Zahnd, Ueli. (2016) Denominating Augustine. The Controversial Reception of Augustine’s Semiotics in Late Medieval and Early Protestant Scholasticism. In: Including Papers presented at the Fifth British Patristics Conference, London, 3-5 September 2014. Leuven, pp. 371-392.

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Throughout the Middle Ages up to the 17 th century, Augustine’s conception of signs, as presented in De doctrina christiana II, was the common starting point of any semiotic discussion. Around 1600, however, the majority of Lutheran scholastics started, in open dispute with their denominational counterparts, the Calvinists, to explicitly reject the father’s definition of a sign as ‘a thing which, in addition to the impression it makes on the senses, also brings something else to mind’. This controversy was caused less by differing logical assumptions and was motivated more by contradicting theological convictions about Christ’s presence in the Eucharist: To keep the basic (and likewise Augustinian) conception of the sacrament as a sign, the Lutherans, defending Christ’s real presence in the sacrament, had to concede a sign to be self -referential, while the Calvinists, conceiving of the sacrament as a reminiscential symbol of Christ’s passion, could hold on Augustine’s definition of a sign as referring to something else . It was this sacramental debate that determined the value of Augustine’s semiotic sayings, giving thus a denominational shape to a merely logical matter. The paper aims to present this denominational reception of Augustine’s semiotics, analysing its theological entanglements and tracing it back to the late medieval roots not only of the two conquering semiotic positions, but of their respective theological background as well .
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Künste, Medien, Philosophie > Ehemalige Einheiten Philosophie und Medienwissenschaft > Geschichte der Mittelalterlichen Philosophie (Zahnd)
01 Faculty of Theology > Ehemalige Organisationseinheiten Theologie > Kirchen- und Theologiegeschichte (Zahnd)
UniBasel Contributors:Zahnd, Ueli
Item Type:Book Section, refereed
Book Section Subtype:Book Chapter
Series Name:Studia patristica
Issue Number:74
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Book item
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:08 Feb 2020 14:36
Deposited On:17 Jan 2017 14:01

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