‘Friendship and the Ascent of the Soul in Augustine’

(2006) Naoki Kamimura, ‘Friendship and the Ascent of the Soul in Augustine’, in: Wendy Mayer, Pauline Allen, and Lawrence Cross (eds.), Prayer and Spirituality in the Early Church, 4 (Sydney: St Pauls Publications) 295–310.
Originally delivered at Prayer and Spirituality in the Early Church, 4th International Conference, held at St Patrick’s campus of Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, on 9 July 2005.
Throughout his long life Augustine’s appreciation of friendship and friends remained strong and constant. ‘Augustine will never be alone.’ (P. Brown, Augustine. A Biography (2000) p. 61). In the Confessions, he describes his close relations with others from his youth onwards. At Cassiciacum, with his closest friends he plans to found a community of philosophers. In Thagaste and Hippo, he gathers friends into his monastic settlements. Although Augustine did not wrote any systematic treatise on friendship, a certain number of his reflections permit us to draw from them his ideas on friendship. What does he consider to be the source of friendship that unites two person in mutual sympathy? I shall examine the problem from the viewpoint of Augustine’s theory of the ascent of the human soul. After his ordination to the priesthood, he develops and refines his spiritual views on the ascent in terms of Isaiah 11. The expanded role of the seven gifts of the Spirit seems to necessitate a change in his conception of the exercitatio animi and the source of the friendship. I shall further argue the point for the interaction between the spiritual exercise and the source of friendship.
[Introduction] — The Source of Friendship — The Ascent of the Soul — Suggested Explanations: Friendship in the Ascent of the Soul — Conclusion.
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