Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Eva Elm - Stoic notions of sexuality and their traces in Augustine and other Western Church fathers

Augustine expounds many of his ideas on sexuality in texts such as De nuptiis et concupiscentia most of which were written in his struggle with Julian, who denied the effects of original sin on human sexuality. For Augustine, in contrast, loss of control over one's bodily responses was one of the effects of Adam's fall. Indeed, Augustine's concepts have led to the notion that human sexuality is devoid of reason, or ratio. Ratio was, however, according to Augustine a key feature of prelapsarian sexual life. As Johannes Brachtendorf states, the Stoic concept of apatheia strongly influenced the rationality which was thought to characterize sexuality in paradise. In my communication I want to trace further influences of Stoic concepts of sexuality on Augustine and other Latin Church fathers beyond the highly influential restriction of sexuality within the boundaries of marriage. 

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