Saturday, 30 April 2011

Kelly Arenson, Augustine's Defense and Redemption of the Body

Contemporary critics of Augustine, including many feminists, frequently charge him with debasing the body by considering it to be the seat of sin, worthy of enmity and neglect.  In this paper I argue that in several texts Augustine displays a marked effort to liberate his readers from precisely that position.  First I argue that in both On Christian Teaching and City of God Augustine attempts to defend the body by shifting the blame for sin from the flesh to the soul.  I contend that this move does not amount to claiming that the body is inherently good, but only that it is not inherently worthy of contempt.  In the second section of the paper, I claim that he argues for the inherent goodness of the body in his Enchiridion.

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