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There may be another side of the "gift" / "free gift" concepts that are a the main theme of Luther's "The Bondage of the Will" tract. God gives salvation to all, but a corrupted human nature will never want it (loving darkness instead of the light) unless God also gives a desire to be "free" from sin that blocks their mind / heart so they actually want the "gift" that is in their own best interest.

Robert

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Nancy Gish 
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 6/14/2009 6:41:02 PM 
Subject: Re: OT - St Augustine


This is fascinating Brian, thanks.  But I think the advertising slogan is probably not related to the theological source or very likely from anyone who knew it.  I think the religious source seems to make the point that the Christian god gives freely--out of love and in a spirit of grace--not because there is any human reason we should have it and not as do humans, whose "gifts" could have many motives--though payment is not one of them.  The advertising slogan is, I think, what you call an intensifier but one that has no connection with grace, only with the notion that it somehow says more than "gift," like "time period," as if there were other kinds (except the punctuation mark) and we would be confused without redundancy.

Or, in other (conceptually redundant) terms, I don't think the phrase has any meaning outside the theological one.  But the history is really interesting.  Now I need to spend some time with the OED.
Cheers,
Nancy

>>> "O'Sullivan, Brian P" <[log in to unmask]> 06/14/09 7:18 PM >>> 
Nancy asked 

"When did "gift" become "free gift," as if one ever paid for a gift?" 

I realize that this is a rhetorical question, but Google Books can suggest an actual answer: it happened sometime before 1520, when Luther wrote the following in his "Letter to the Christian Nobility of the Nation of Germany, Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate": 

"Let this be your fixed rule: What you must buy from the pope is neither good nor of God; for what is from God, to wit, the Gospel and the works of God, is not only given without money, but the whole world is punished and damned because it has not been willing to receive it as a free gift." 

I don't know how exact the translation is, but the phase also appears in at least a couple of other 16th Century texts on Google--both also on religious subjects. It gets 2,130 Google Books hits for dates up to January, 1900--again mostly in texts dealing with religious subjects, or so it seems at a glance. 

This doesn't refute Nancy's point, of course; it doesn't show that the phrase is correct or that it's not redundant, but only that it's relatively old. I think the phrase strikes some people as modern "advertising speak"--as in "open a new account and get a free gift"--so I was interested to see how long it's been around. 

In both the advertising use and the religious one, I think that the word "free" is used a kind of intensifier, to emphasize (honestly or not) that the ""gift" is really a gift and not a purchase, entitlement, or something else obligated or obligating. It's like saying "true gift." (Of course, sometimes it's not so accurate, as when you have to open an account to get the "gift.") 

Brian 
________________________________________ 
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nancy Gish [[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Sunday, June 14, 2009 6:32 PM 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Re: OT - St Augustine 

That's quite true, but they are still optional and not paid for. One may incur a social obligation by accepting a dinner, but one does not, by definition, pay for that dinner. 

And the "obligation" to return it is still a matter of courtesy, not required payment. 
Nancy 

>>> Tom Gray <[log in to unmask]> 06/14/09 5:42 PM >>> 
There are gifts that come with obligations. 

Someone takes a person to dinner. There is a tacit assumption that the hospitality will be reciprocated. 

There are also gifts which are not free in the opposite direction. If someone invites colleagues to a dinner at his/her house then he is obligated to include even those colleagues tat he would not with to associate with outside of work. 


--- On Sun, 6/14/09, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 

> From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> 
> Subject: Re: OT - St Augustine 
> To: [log in to unmask] 
> Received: Sunday, June 14, 2009, 9:52 PM 
> Unfortunately 
> that is an extremely simplistic definition of liberalism, 
> which is not so silly as to assume so overarching a 
> claim. 
> 
> And when did "gift" become "free 
> gift," as if one ever paid for a gift? 
> Nancy 
> >>> Chokh Raj 06/14/09 10:29 AM 
> >>> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Indeed, a superficial view, a half truth.. 
> 
> I found it illuminating to read a few pages 
> beginning with the paragraph "Perhaps the most 
> important message in Augustine's philosophy was his view 
> of human nature..." (p.75) 
> 
> http://books.google.com/books?id=0qiYM2_HhJgC&pg=PA75&lpg=PA75&dq 
> 
> Thanks, 
> 
> CR 
> 
> --- On Sun, 6/14/09, Peter Montgomery 
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> A pretty constricted anal orifice view of Augustine, 
> if you ask me. 
> 
> Cheers, 
> P. 
> 
> 
> On Jun 11, 2009, CR Mittal 
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Word of the Day 
> for Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 
> Dictionary.com 
> 
> redivivus \red-uh-VY-vuhs; -VEE-\, 
> adjective: 
> Living again; brought back to 
> life; revived; restored. 
> 
> Augustine 
> redivivus, R. contends, would find in the history of the 
> present 
> century 
> confirmation of his pessimistic views of human 
> nature. 
> 
> -- Roland J. Teske, 
> "Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized", 
> 
> 
> Theological Studies, June 1, 1995 
> 
> ----- 
> 
> a thought vis-a-vis tse 
> 
> cr 
> 
> 
> 


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