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Tangere Autem Corde, Hoc Est Credere: Augustine On 'Touching' The Numinous

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Chapter Summary

In his insightful chapter St. Augustine and the return of the senses Burcht Pranger explores, among other things, the Church Fathers allusions in his Confessions to a quandary: the perceived discontinuity between the sensory experience of the material world and the non-sensory, in his view more truly real, experience of the divinely numinous. In Augustines sermons, the most elaborate treatment of spiritual touching, not surprisingly, is found in his explanations of the story of the woman with the issue of blood who was healed by touching the fringe of Jesuss garment. Augustines description in the Confessions of the theophanic moment at Ostia appears to indicate that he then thought of what he supposed to be the gap between sensory and spiritual experience as capable of being leapt over only momentarily and by divine initiative.

Keywords: Confessions; divinely numinous; spiritual touching; St. Augustine



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