ST. AUGUSTINE’S CONCEPT OF JUSTICE AND THE HERMENEUTICS OF THE CONTEMPORARY SECULAR STATE

AUTHOR: NWEKE CHARLES CHUKWUEMEKA

DEPARTMENT: PHILOSOPHY

AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA.

It is St. Augustine’s position that commonwealth is definable only in the context of justice. If justice is to ascribe to everyone his due, then, it is only logical, Augustine argues, that justice begins with obedience and service to God whose due it is that man, his creature, should serve. The circle of justice completes when the soul, imbued with God’s grace, rules the body in such a manner that reason controls the vices and other perverted human elements ultimately resulting in the love of God and love of neighbor characteristics of the city of God. But a form of criticism of orthodoxy based on the assertion that religion impedes human progress consequent upon its focus on dogma and superstition rather than reason and scientific method refers to secularism. The adoption, application and practice of the ideals of secularism are quite prevalent in the contemporary time and underpin the constitutions of most contemporary states with the sole intent of the quest for idyllic existence. But the question remains as to the extent the purpose has been met when issues of socio-political instabilities of nations, especially in the contemporary era are brought to view. Since the hermeneutic method entails the interpretation for the right meaning of texts, languages, cultures and event existential situations, a hermeneutic evaluation of the contemporary secular state in the light of St. Augustine’s concept of justice is apt. The study will afford an enhanced understanding of the political problems associated with the contemporary secular society. It would also provide a viable platform for deeper appreciation of Augustine’s philosophy as well as feasible explanations and possible panacea to the world’s contemporary political problems.

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