Friday, April 24, 2020

Kenneth M. Wilson's "Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to 'Non-Free Free Will'" - Calvinism Discussion

Since one vocal contra-Calvinist has been relying on Dr. Wilson's materials to bash Calvinism, it makes sense to discuss every single place that Dr. Wilson mentions John Calvin in his book.

Based on a text search for "Calvin" within the book, there is exactly one hit:
Kolakowski argues that the Church's repeated anathemas on the teachings by Luther, Calvin, and the Jansenists also condemned Augustine's novel teachings on 'double predestination,' total incapacity of 'the will' for good, irresistible grace, "non-free free will," and limited atonement.[12]
[fn 12: Kolakowski (1995), 3-33.]
Leszek Kołakowski (1927-2009) was a Polish anti-Marxist philosopher. Kolakowski's "God Owes Us Nothing: A Brief Remark on Pascal's Religion and on the Spirit of Jansenism," is evidently the work Wilson was citing. He apparently refers to Kolakowski's work a couple more times.

Kolakowski's book begins with part one, "Why did the Catholic Church Condemn the Teaching of Saint Augustine?" (pp. 3-112) The sub-section boldly titled, "What Was Wrong with Augustine?" begins at page 30.

I couldn't figure out from looking at Kolakowski's material what Wilson's quotation mark convention meant. It feels like the single marks are non-adoptive quotations of individual words or phrases (aka scare quotes) and double quotations are Wilson's own paraphrase. In any event, the usage is - at best - distracting.

At page 5, Kolakowski fires this salvo:

This is an odd paradox for the "provisionalist" crowd, who don't want to be considered Pelagian, but nevertheless don't want to accept Augustine.

From what I can tell, Kolakowski does not opine on whether Augustine was the originator of the doctrines he taught. Kolakowski, at page 4, explains:

All of these, per Kolakowski, "defined their doctrinal stance first by giving their own interpretation of the canonical texts, in particular Paul's letter to the Romans...."

In any event, I'll end this meandering post here.