Splendid Vices and Secular Virtues: Variations on Milbank's Augustine

Journal of Religious Ethics 32 (2):271 - 300 (2004)
John Milbank's case against secular reason draws much of its authority and force from Augustine's critique of pagan virtue. "Theology and Social Theory" could be characterized, without too much insult to either Augustine or Milbank, as a postmodern "City of God". Modern preoccupations with secular virtues, marketplace values, and sociological bottom-lines are likened there to classically pagan preoccupations with the virtues of self-conquest and conquest over others. Against both modern and antique "ontological violence" (where 'to be' is 'to be antagonistic'), Milbank advances an Augustinian hope for the peace that is both beyond and prior to the peace of (temporarily) repressed antagonism. One aim of this essay is to consider whether virtues conceived out of such a hope are really all that different from the virtues they are taken to replace. I take a critical look at Augustine's critique of pagan virtue, Milbank's appropriation of that critique, the applicability of that critique to Plato, and the polemical value of Augustine's notion of original sin. I end up being skeptical of the notion of a peculiarly Christian way to turn antagonistically conceived virtues into love, but I am not unsympathetic to Milbank's concerns about a loveless and self-complacent secularity
Keywords virtue  secularism  vice  Augustine  Plato  sin  Milbank
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/40016706
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,974
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
John Milbank (2005). The Invocation of Clio: A Response. Journal of Religious Ethics 33 (1):3-44.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
William P. Loewe (1996). III. Beyond Secular Reason? Philosophy and Theology 9 (3-4):447-454.
John Milbank (1987). An Essay Against Secular Order. Journal of Religious Ethics 15 (2):199 - 224.
Michael M. Waddell (2008). Faith and Reason in the Wake of Milbank and Pickstock. International Philosophical Quarterly 48 (3):381-396.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

10 ( #228,317 of 1,725,840 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #210,637 of 1,725,840 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.