‘Friendship and Shared Reading Experiences in Augustine’

(2011) Naoki Kamimura, ‘Friendship and Shared Reading Experiences in Augustine’, in: Shigeki Tsuchihashi, Katsushi Hikasa, Naoki Kamimura, and Satoshi Toda (eds.), Patristica, supplementary vol. 3 (Japanese Society for Patristic Studies) 69–83.
A draft of this study was originally presented at the 32nd International Patristic, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies Conference at Villanova Conference Center, Radnor, Pennsylvania, 20 October 2007.
Friendship plays an essential role in Augustine’s relations with others. He enjoyed his close friendship with an unnamed young man while teaching at Thagaste. After the loss of his dear friend he took solace from other friendship in Carthage. In Rome, Milan, and the ‘Cassiciacum estate’, he had been shared with his friends the same aim of the coenobitic mode of life. Amicable agreements were marked by the sharing of property, fraternity, conversations, prayer, and reading. Shared reading experience performs a basic function in Augustine’s mediating perceptions of the reality. When he met Cicero’s Hortensius, he attended to the study of philosophy. His engagement in the scriptures was elevated by a comparative study of neoplatonic treatises. His conversion to the religious mode of life occurred through his reading of Pauline epistles. This paper considers the way in which Augustine turns to reading in place of his friendships, and/or in combination with it. It is argued whether for him there is some positive correlation between friendship and shared reading experience. He spiritualises both of them despite their adhesions to sensory and temporary things. It is because friendship and reading experience permit him to approach the divine matters that lay beyond the practical attitude towards reading experiences and his friends.
[Introduction] — 1. The invulnerability of friendship and its spiritual prescription — 2. Reading experiences in combination with friendship — 3. Concluding Remarks.
Paper proofs in PDF format downloadable.