Weeping at The Death of Dido: Sorrow, Virtue, and Augustine's "Confessions"

Journal of Religious Ethics 19 (1):175 - 191 (1991)
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If the study of Christian ethics concerns, among other things, consideration of the character of persons who would be disciples of Jesus Christ, then it must be concerned both with virtues and with the feelings or affections appropriate to such a character. This essay explores the affection of sorrow in its connection with the virtue of charity. Following an examination of relevant discussions by Augustine, Kierkegaard, and Calvin, the analysis is illustrated and extended through an interpretation of literary patterns of sorrow and mourning in Augustine's "Confessions". That text, on the one hand, gives a partial depiction of how one may come to sorrow well; on the other hand, it points out a significant sort of failure in discrimination in how one should feel.



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William Jospeh Werpehowski
Georgetown University

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