Parochially Political: An Examination of The Political Nature of the Eucharist in the Thought of St. Augustine

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2020
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Haverford College. Department of Religion
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Thesis
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The Religion Prize
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eng
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Open Access
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Abstract
This thesis proposes to re-examine St. Augustine's political thought through an exploration of the political ramifications of the sacrament of the Eucharist, particularly as it is described in Augustine's "Sermon 227." In the literature on Augustine, there appears to be little in terms of a political understanding of the Church's practices, particularly as regards the sacraments. Sermon 227 proceeds in a way that forces the reader to consider the political implications of the Eucharist, especially as a practice that creates and sustains an entity, the Body of Christ. For Augustine, this body is understood sacrificially, and it is that theme of sacrifice that, we will see, is the centrepiece of the political nature of that body. Augustine's formulation of the Eucharist in Sermon 227 thus reframes the question of the relationship between politics and the Church. Through a close textual analysis of Sermon 227, this thesis will demonstrate that, for Augustine, the relationship between the Eucharist and politics is one that goes to the very core of the practice itself.
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