Vierteljahresschrift für das Gesamtgebiet der katholischen Theologie
Begründet von Kardinal Leo Scheffczyk • ISSN 0178-1626


Heinz Sproll:
Augustus as Seer of Theophany and as Servant of Christ
(FKTh 2019-3, p. 218–240)

This study about the narrative of Augustus’ theophany takes the cultural-anthropological theorem by Aleida Assmann and Hans Blumberg methodologically as a starting point, in order to analyze a solid memory space according to the meaning of „longue durée“ (F. Braudel). Thereby it is possible to determine that pre-Christian mythologems about Augustus as a visionary already built the solid matrix for the metaphorical Christian theologumenon of the providential function of Augustus and of the Tiburtine Sibyl.

The theology of the „logos“-incarnation characterized the „paideia“ of the Christian educational memory so that the Chronographia by Johannes Malalas (ca. 490-575) and the Mirabilia Urbis Romae (around 1140) as metaphorical narratives of the theophany of Augustus serving Christ gained importance beyond the URBS being valid for the whole Orbis Christianus in the Christian educational memory.

In parallel to the semantic interpretation matrix the use of metaphors in this theophany was monumentalized in the Augustus' altar of the Basilica Sancta Maria in Aracoeli (before 1143). Hence it became during the time of the High Scholasticism an iconographic visible sign for the invisible mystery of the Lord's epiphany with the aim of letting the believers take part in his Eucharistic real presence thanks to the message of the sacral symbol in analogy to Augustus' theophany.

© FKTh 2020