"With Length of Days I Will Gratify Him"

Geoffrey D. Dunn
2019 Scrinium  
AbstractThe Bible has a variety of perspectives on old age. On the one hand, as exemplified in Ps 91(90):16 and 92(91):15, old age is a sign of God's blessing and the elderly are held in high regard as valuable, while on the other, as exemplified in Ps 39(38):5; 71(70):9; and 90(89):10, life is seen as fleeting and length of days as insignificant and the elderly fear neglect. The psalms held a high place in Augustine's Christian identity. This paper explores Augustine's use of these verses to
more » ... nsider the extent to which his religious outlook shaped his perspectives on ageing, as well as addressing the question of whether or not he was aware of the conflict between the two perspectives. It will be argued that Augustine was not interested in the contradictions presented by the psalmist, and that he interpreted all the verses through an eschatological framework, such that an evaluation of the meaning and value of life is to be found only through a perception of eternity.
doi:10.1163/18177565-00151p04 fatcat:crrmvnxz2jfbbf27uhur3h4eru