Erections, Distentions, Contentions: The Movement of Forgiveness in Augustine's Confessions


Forgiveness in Augustine is especially at play where it is no longer possible to recognize it as such. It must be looked for where Augustine seems to be talking about something else in order to avoid falling into yet another doctrinal discussion on sin and grace exclusively understood as remissionem peccatorum in baptismal, penitential, or monastic contexts. In Confessions, this remission is mentioned alongside motherhood and labor, washing and cleansing, stomachs and hearts, hasting and postponing, childhood illnesses and adult pollutions. These dissimilar, seemingly unrelated tensions form a single constellation where a broader, deeper, non-doctrinal, existential understanding of forgiveness can be discovered. Part of my effort in this paper is to unpack what this approach means. That is, it involves the construction of a notion of forgiveness that could be properly called Augustinian and, as importantly, one that can help us understand what kind of phenomenon forgiveness is from a philosophical perspective. Such notion needs to be built from some of Augustine’s remarks on continence, memory, and inwardness as found in Confessions.


Daniel Esparza
Associate Professor, Observatori Blanquerna, Universitat Ramon Llull, Barcelona, Spain


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2024 Special Focus—Spaces, Movement, Time: Religions at Rest and in Movement


Movement, Erection, Distention, Contention, Augustine

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