Thursday, 5 February 2015

Adam Trettel: ‘Omnia abundanter ad fruendum': Frui in Augustine's Scriptures

Augustine's writings contain around 600 usages of the words frui/perfrui or perfruitio (‘to enjoy', 'enjoyment'), of which approximately 4% are scriptural citations. In the first half of my paper, I briefly discuss each of the frui- passages he cites and identify where these verses are clustered. In the second half, I explore several aspects of the most frequently-cited frui verse, showing that Augustine invoked it repeatedly post-410 A.D. in order to mould a moderate Christian attitude to wealth. I suggest that it contains a phrase (‘omnia abundanter ad fruendum') which is at odds with the famous formulation of use and enjoyment in Book I of De doctrina christiana(‘Res ergo aliae sunt quibus fruendum est, aliae quibus utendum...'). I cast doubt on the degree to which scriptural texts shaped Augustine's usage of the word frui, either in the usus-fruitiodichotomy or in his other major patterns of expression (frui deo, frui bono, angelicfrui, etc.).

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