Mr Gerald Boersma
I am a historian of early Christianity and its relationship to classical philosophical traditions. My focus is Augustine's account of the human person as "image of God". This is a topic of wide-ranging significance, in particular since it is a conduit through which ancient classical thought has shaped later Western accounts of the human person. In my thesis I argue that Augustine's early works rely on his particular appropriation of a Platonic philosophy of "image." At the same time, I explore how this adaptation was shaped by a deep engagement with the theology of image present in fourth-century Latin theologians who drew on the creed of the Council of Nicaea in 325. I further argue that the manner in which Augustine develops this account of "image" for his own theological agenda has had a profound influence on Western understandings of personhood and identity. My research follows a broader movement in recent scholarship arguing that Platonic thought is a positive (and ultimately a non-dualistic) dialogue partner for philosophy and theology.