Frater cordis mei: Friendship in Augustine’s Confessions Cover Image

Frater cordis mei: Friendship in Augustine’s Confessions
Frater cordis mei: Friendship in Augustine’s Confessions

Author(s): Lenka Karfíková
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion
Published by: Univerzita Karlova v Praze, Nakladatelství Karolinum
Keywords: Augustine; Confessions; Friendship; Early Christian thinking

Summary/Abstract: In Augustine’s Confessions, friendship not only has two forms, an individual and a communitarian one, but it also has two faces, a positive and a negative one. On the one hand, we find philosophical friendship which loves gratis (i.e. without thinking about any profit) and shares the common effort in search for wisdom. As Augustine puts it, such a friendship is based on a community of souls ascending to God. In his eyes, to love one’s friend ‘in God’ is even a necessary element of a true friendship. Besides an individual form of friendship, we also meet a broader community of friends in Augustine’s Confessions who even plan a common life devoted to philosophical leisure and later to religious service.On the other hand, both individual and communitarian forms of friendship also have their negative sides. Friendship is not necessarily a common search for wisdom, it can also become a substitute for such an effort. Even more harmful is the impact of what Augustine calls the ‘unfriendly friendship’ which makes ‘shame not to be shameless.’ We meet this behaviour in a group, even in a mob, several times in Confessions and find Augustine playing the role of both the seduced and the seducer.

  • Issue Year: 10/2020
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 69-91
  • Page Count: 23
  • Language: English