The weight of love: locating and directing the soul in Augustine's early works
Clausen, Ian Arthur
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The aim of this thesis is to explore the weight of love in Augustine’s early works (AD 386-95). By the weight of love, this thesis refers to the location and direction of the soul qua lover. According to Augustine, every soul has a journey to attend to, and every journey comes replete with obstacles on the way. To negotiate these obstacles involves attending to the weight of love, taking care to place the soul in relation to the truth. To achieve this, Augustine embarks on three pivotal early works to develop an itinerary for spiritual awakening. In De Academicis (AD 386), he forges a path “from Cicero to Christ” in order to deliver the soul from scepticism, and to present it to the true philosophy. In De vera religione (AD 390-1), he paves a way “from aversion to transcendence” in order to overcome Manichean pride, and to embrace the humility of Christ. Finally in De libero arbitrio (AD 388-95), he charts a course “from faith to understanding” whereby the soul overcomes temptation to blame God for sin, and gains awareness of its location as a sinner in Adam. By examining each itinerary in chronological order, this thesis establishes the place of love as a driving mechanism in the early works, and thereby reveals a profound continuity in Augustine’s early approach to the soul as lover.