Freedom from Passions in Augustine

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http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-1626-0
Title: Freedom from Passions in Augustine
Author: Gao, Yuan
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Theology
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2015-11-04
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-1626-0
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/156645
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: This study presents a general overview of Augustine s insights into passions as well as his approach to the therapy of emotions and their sanctification. Attending to various phases of his writings, this work explores the systematic structure of Augustine s tenets on passions and on the freedom from passions in the context of his philosophical and theological convictions on the issue of amor sui and amor Dei. The analysis begins by examining Augustine s language of passions and the doctrinal connections between Augustine and his predecessors. I provide a survey of Augustine s usage of emotional terms and criticise the position that Augustine suggested a dichotomy between passio and affectus as well as the claim that none of Augustine s Latin terms can be justifiably translated by the modern term emotion . On the basis of terminological and doctrinal observations, I clarify the general features of Augustine s psychology of passions in Chapter 2. In addressing the issue of how Augustine transformed his predecessors therapy of passions and their ideal of freedom from emotion into his theological framework in Chapter 3, I examine a series of related concepts, such as propatheia, metriopatheia, apatheia and eupatheia, to determine how he understood them in various stages of his philosophical and theological thinking. On this basis, I draw an outline of Augustine s interpretation of emotions in his theological anthropology. During his early period, Augustine adopted the Stoic and Platonic therapy of passions and the Stoic ideal of freedom from emotion (apatheia), but he changed his position later, re-evaluating the received terminologies and values of emotions (love, will, justice, virtue, etc.) from the perspective of the doctrines of sin and grace. He developed a theological vision and evaluation of the human condition of emotions and he expressed a pessimistic attitude towards the human condition without the help of supernatural grace. Chapter 4 addresses Augustine s position on the criticism and renewal of passions in social life: the household, city, and the world. In Chapter 5, I argue that Augustine s ideal of freedom from passions was participation in the inner Trinitarian spiritual life by the bond of the Holy Spirit as a hallmark of deification. This is wholly dependent on the divine kenosis and the transaction in the person of Christ. By virtue of the gift of grace (the salvific real presence of the Holy Spirit in faith), the pilgrimaging citizens of the City of God will be elevated to the divine realm and become transformed into a better substance in the union with God in Heaven. Contrary to arguments by some Orthodox theologians, Augustine s theory of deification is not simply a matter of fulfilment of humanity without a genuine transformation. While grace improves the control of sinful impulses in the emotional life of believers who suffer the consequences of the damage of the soul through original sin, Augustine maintained that the new life in Heaven denotes freedom from this emotional condition as well as the non-apathetic peaceful love and joy of resurrected persons in their participation in the divine spiritual nature.
Subject: Dogmatics
Rights: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.


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