As noted in my previous response, Robert Eno is not a conservative “scholar” - but even so, all Mr. Engwer has presented above is Eno’s commentary on what St. Augustine has allegedly said or “viewed.” The problem here is we have NOTHING from St. Augustine to substantiate the claims! An unsubstantiated commentary is not a valid argument, and we must begin this series, as we did the last, in rejecting the premise based on a lack of substance....
This piece is more of a review of Eno’s book than a serious commentary on St. Augustine.
I cited an article by Eno, not a book. And the article is documented with more than a hundred notes, including many citations of Augustine and Augustinian scholarship. The article was published in a journal that specializes in the study of Augustine. Eno was (he's dead) a Roman Catholic clergyman and patristic scholar who taught church history at the Catholic University of America and was widely published, including on Augustinian issues. He wasn't conservative on some points, but the same can be said of recent Popes. Scott puts the term scholar in quotation marks, perhaps suggesting that Eno shouldn't be considered a scholar, but he doesn't explain why.
If Scott doesn't want to read the article by Eno that I cited, and he doesn't want to address the documentation Eno provided, that's his choice. But the documentation is there. And even without that documentation, I often quoted Eno's descriptions of events in Augustine's life and references to Augustine's historical context. Either those descriptions and references are correct or they aren't. If Scott thinks they're incorrect, then he needs to explain why. If he doesn't think they're incorrect, then why doesn't he address them? If he's saying that he needs documentation every time Eno refers to anything that occurred in Augustine's life or his surrounding context, then I would, again, ask why. Does Scott expect such documentation from sources that are more in agreement with his position? If a Catholic Answers article tells us that Augustine was bishop of Hippo during a particular year, does Scott expect documentation? Does he expect documentation every time a claim is made about Augustine? I doubt it. It's not as though Robert Eno was a high school student working as a cashier at McDonald's, writing blog posts about Augustine in his off hours. He was a patristic scholar writing an article for an Augustinian journal. We can safely expect him to know a lot about Augustine and to be at least largely accurate in what he tells us. For Scott to ignore so much of what I cited from Eno, and to do so with comments like what I've quoted above, leaves a lot to be desired.
But I did go on to cite and discuss some passages from Augustine. I didn't just quote Eno. As we'll see, Scott didn't have much to say in response to what I cited from Augustine. And he often made claims about Augustine and his historical context without offering any documentation, despite his objections to a lack of documentation from Eno.
In my series on Augustine, I sometimes linked to my own past articles on relevant subjects. Despite his claim that he wants more documentation, Scott ignored the past articles I linked. For example, he comments:
Let us ask, quickly though, how did we arrive at the Canon of Scripture, if not through Church councils over the first 400 years determining which books would be accepted as canonical, and which would be rejected from the canon?
I've answered that question in a series on the canon here. See here especially, where I document that disagreements over the canon continued long after the councils of the fourth century. Contrast my documentation to the lack of documentation in Scott's comments above.
Here's an example of the sort of shallow treatment of Augustine we get from Scott:
And STILL no quotes or substance, but how about I provide one for Mr. Engwer here to support what Mr. Eno said...
"I should not believe the Gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church."
(St. Augustine, Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental, 5,6)
Let the objective reader consider where St. Augustine’s priority is here.
He makes no attempt to explain the alleged significance of that one sentence he's quoted. He just quotes it and lets the reader "consider" it. Eno addresses the passage in the article I cited, and other scholars who disagree with Scott's view of Augustine have addressed it many times. He gives us no reason to prefer his own reading over theirs.
At one point, Scott refers to how something in Augustine that was discussed by Eno seems "more of an argument for Catholicism than against it". If Augustine appealed to tradition, church councils, or other concepts vaguely similar to what Roman Catholics believe, Scott acts as if such vague similarity is sufficient. But my series wasn't about whether Augustine was "more for Roman Catholicism than against it". Rather, it was about whether he was Roman Catholic. A non-Catholic can agree with Catholicism more than he disagrees with it. Eastern Orthodox, Copts, Evangelicals, Anglicans, and other groups agree with Catholicism more than they disagree with it, but we don't therefore consider them Catholic.