Idolatrous Friendship in Augustine’s Confessions

Philosophy and Theology 28 (1):43-57 (2016)
Authors
Kyle P. Hubbard
Saint Anselm College
Abstract
In Book Four of his Confessions, Augustine recalls his grief at the death of his closest friend. Augustine believes he grieved excessively because he loved his friend as an idol, in the place of God. To illuminate the problems with Augustine’s friendship, I will draw on Jean-Luc Marion’s helpful analyses of the idol and the icon. In doing so I seek to clarify not only Augustine’s position on proper human love in the Confessions, but also suggest a way to understand his infamous uti/frui distinction from On Christian Teaching, a nearly contemporaneous text to the Confessions.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 0890-2461
DOI 10.5840/philtheol201662244
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