Augustine and the Functions of Concupiscence


Augustine’s ideas of sinful desire, including its sexual manifestations, have fueled controversies for centuries. In Augustine and the Functions of Concupiscence, Timo Nisula analyses Augustine’s own theological and philosophical concerns in his extensive writings about evil desire (concupiscentia, cupiditas, libido).
Beginning with a terminological survey of the vocabulary of desire, the book demonstrates how the concept of evil desire was tightly linked with Augustine’s fundamental theological views of divine justice, the origin of evil, Christian virtues and grace.
This book offers a comprehensive account of Augustine’s developing views of concupiscence and provides an innovative, in-depth picture of the theological imagination behind disputed ideas of sex, temptation and moral responsibility.

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Timo Nisula, Dr. theol. (2011), MA (2000, Latin literature), University of Helsinki, is currently working as a student pastor in Turku. His earlier published articles concern Augustine’s doctrine of sin, exegesis and hermeneutics.
"Thoroughly researched and finely written study..." – J. van Oort, in: Vigiliae Christianae 68 (2014)
"die Orientierung an vier [...] "Funktionen" gibt N.s historischer und systematischer Studie eine erfreulich übersichtliche und konzise Struktur. [...] N.s umfassende und gut lesbare Studie [verschreibt sich] einer sorgfältigen und sachlich überzeugenden werkimmanenten Interpretation." – Simon Pen-Keller, Zürich, in: Theologische Literaturzeitung 130 (2014)
1. Introduction
2. The Language of Desire
3. Paradise and Punishment
4. The Root and Matrix of Sin
5. Concupiscentia and Philosophical Traditions of Emotions
6. Grace and Renewal – The Domestication of Concupiscentia
7. Conclusion
8. Bibliography
All those interested in theology, patristic studies, the history of philosophy in Late Antiquity and the development of Christian thought on sexual desire, emotions and grace.
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