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The Fruit of Charity: Using the Neighbor in "De doctrina christiana"

Helmut David Baer
The Journal of Religious Ethics
Vol. 24, No. 1 (Spring, 1996), pp. 47-64
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40016684
Page Count: 18
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The Fruit of Charity: Using the Neighbor in
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Abstract

Augustine's treatment of neighbor-love in De doctrina Christiana has been the subject of much criticism in twentieth-century scholarship. Specifically, Augustine is criticized for reducing neighbor-love to an instrumental "use" of the neighbor as a tool in one's personal project of salvation. This paper argues that careful attention to the relationship between Christ and the uti-frui distinction in book 1 of De doctrina reveals a much different conception of "use." Far from advancing an instrumental treatment of the other, Augustine, when he speaks of "using" the neighbor, is developing language to describe acts of charity.

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