The Space of Time: A Sensualist Interpretation of Time in Augustine, Confessions X to XII (Supplements to the Study of Time)
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From Robert Grosseteste to Jean-Francois Lyotard, Augustine s suggestion that time is a dilation of the soul ("distentio animi") has been taken up as a seminal and controversial time-concept, yet in "The Space of Time," David van Dusen argues that this dilation has been fundamentally misinterpreted. Time in "Confessions" XI is a dilation of the "senses" in beasts, as in humans. And Augustine s time-concept in "Confessions" XI is not Platonic but in schematic terms, Epicurean. Identifying new influences on the "Confessions" from Aristoxenus to Lucretius while keeping Augustine s phenomenological interpreters in view, "The Space of Time" is a path-breaking work on "Confessions" X to XII and a ranging contribution to the history of the concept of time."
I.12.19: . . . quendam Augustinum episcopum eorum. 3 Lepelley 2001, 329: “Thagaste, en Numidie Proconsulaire . . . une obscure cité provinciale.” Merdinger (1997, 68) describes “the Numidian highlands” in the late 4th century as being “a region of pine forests and scrubby canyons” that benefited from a network of Roman roads. 4 Amm. R.gest. XV.1.3: . . . “Aeternitatem meam” aliquotiens subsereret ipse dictando. The emperor is Constantius II (317–361), and for Ammianus Marcellinus’ critique of
can already infer . . .”)119 But my purpose here, importantly, is only to determine the contours of Sextus’ typology. This is 117 Plut. Plat.Q. VIII.3 (1006e). 118 Aug. Conf. XII.29.40: formae rerum exserunt tempora. 119 Sext. Ad.Phys. II.229. augustine and the physical question of time 61 not the place to report on, and much less to discuss, how Sextus handles—or mishandles—the various time-concepts he relates. At the outset of Sextus’ time-investigation (περὶ χρόνου ζητεῖν), he introduces a
which what is not present in the strictest sense (praesens de praesentibus) is signaled by the distinct impresences of memory (praesens de praeteritis) and expectation (praesens de futuris).40 The presence-character of ‘presence,’ sensu stricto, is signaled by a constitutive tendency to pass into the impresence of memory, which is to say, by hypertransitivity.41 Transitivity inflects memory and expectation as well as sensation, while the transitivity of sensation is itself co-constituted by the
492–97; Aug. Conf. XII.11.12: sanctorum spirituum; XII.14.17: spiritus dei; XII.15.22: sancti spiritus. 39 Or more precisely, it cannot be—and will not be—so characterized in the context of Conf. XII. In his axiological schema at Aug. Serm. 43.4 (c. 400), for instance, Augustine says that we share “sensation with beasts and intellection with angels” (sentire cum bestiis, intellegere cum angelis). While this hierarchy is never, to my awareness, rejected outright or in toto, we will see a certain
desire (the extentio of Confessions XI.29–30).68 Variations of the haerere are also employed, in Confessions I to IX, to describe social bonds and intimacy.69 In Confessions VI, the term haerere describes Augustine’s sex-drive and sexual habitus,70 and significantly—recall the formulation at X.6.8: “where that holds-close (haeret) which satedness never disrupts”—his final separation from the mother of his son, Adeodatus: And she being torn from my side . . . my heart, where I was attached to her,