Title

Humility: an Augustinian perspective.

Publication Date

Winter 2016

Abstract

In a letter te a young student named Dioscorus, Augustine writes, "I£ you were to ask me, however often you might repeat the gestion, what are the instructions of the Christian religion, 1 would he disposed to answer always and only, 'Humility/ although, perchance, necessity might constrain me to speak also of other things" (Ep. 118.3.22).1 In this essay, 1 show why, for Augustine, humility is the definitive virtue of Christian life. 1 also show that Augustine's account of humility differs significantly from what contemporary philosophers "remember" Chris- tian humility te be. The essay unfolds in four parts. First, 1 isolate what 1 call foe "standard account" of Christian humility among contemporary philosophers. Sec- ond, 1 argue that the standard account of Christian humility does not cap- ture Augustine's understanding of humility. Third, I develop what 1 take to be Augustine's account of humility, namely a disposition of foe will to embrace radical dependence, particularly with respect to one's identity or self-understanding. Fourth, I show why Augustine's account of humility is inseparable from specifically Christian commitments.

Keywords

Humility--Religious aspects--Christianity; Augustine, of Hippo, Saint, 354-430

Publication Title

Pro Ecclesia

Volume

25

Issue

1

First Page

18

Last Page

43

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