Friday, 24 May 2019

Jenny R. Rallens: Benevolentia: Love and Rhetoric in Augustine of Hippo

This paper investigates what the role of benevolentia (usually: goodwill, kindness, love)in Augustine's depictions of friendship and love can reveal about benevolentia's role as an emotion in Augustine's conception of rhetoric.This duplex office of benevolentia in both rhetoric and friendship is consonant with classical treatments of the emotion (c.f. ad Herennium, Cicero’s rhetorical works and de Amicitia, Seneca’s de Beneficiis), but unlike his classical predecessors, Augustine reserves benevolentia for rare and unusually specific use. Augustine seems to invoke benevolentia particularly to describe how to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (e.g. Io. eu. tr. 51,13; ep. Io. tr. 8, 5; Io. eu. tr. 32, 4). Benevolentia even becomes for Augustine an ‘emotion’ of God (linked in particular to God's miserecordia), no longer for use only in human rhetoric and relationships, but that to which we appeal when making requests of God (s. Dolbeau 4, 7; en. Ps. 5,17).To understand better why Augustine in doc chr.IVlists benevolentia as one of the central emotions by which rhetoric ought to movea listener, and why he elsewhere (e.g. c. Acad.II.2.3) portrays benevolentia as what causes a hearer to change his mind and agree with the speaker, this paper will examine what benevolentia looks like, feels like, says, and does in the context of human-human and human-divine friendships in Augustine’s theoretical (e.g. doc chr., de mag., de ord.) and applied (e.g. s.and en. Ps.) treatments of rhetoric.

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