Consuetudo carnalis in Augustine's confessions: Confessing identity/belonging to difference

Journal of Religious Ethics 37 (3):495-512 (2009)
Abstract
The political theorist William E. Connolly reads Augustine's Confessions as an exhortation to deny the paradox of identity/difference. The paradox for Connolly is this: if one confesses a true identity, one must be false to difference, but if one is true to difference, one must sacrifice the promise of true identity. I revisit Augustine's Confessions here in order to offer a reading of their paradoxical character that contrasts with Connolly's. I will argue that Augustine's confession does not deny the paradox of identity/difference but exemplifies what it means to struggle within it. I turn to James Wetzel's work on Augustine's idea of free will and Catherine Keller's work on the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo to suggest that treating Augustine's confession as confession reveals this struggle
Keywords Augustine  William E. Connolly  confession  James Wetzel  sexual habit  Catherine Keller
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