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Emotion and Peace of MindFrom Stoic Agitation to Christian Temptation$
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Richard Sorabji

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256600.001.0001

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First Movements In Augustine

First Movements In Augustine

Adaptation and Misunderstanding

(p.372) 24 First Movements In Augustine
Emotion and Peace of Mind

Richard Sorabji (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Augustine agreed that sin starts when we enjoy or prolong bad thoughts, and concluded that we need to seek forgiveness by saying the Lord's Prayer every day. He was against the view he ascribed to Pelagians that one might reach the stage of sinlessness or Stoic apatheia through one's own efforts. But he misinterpreted Stoic first movements, inferring that the Stoics disagreed with him only verbally, because Aulus Gellius' Latin report of the Stoics used an ambiguous word, when it said that the Stoics allowed pavor. Augustine took it to mean that they abandoned apatheia by allowing real fear, whereas what they allowed was only jitters, a first movement. Another misunderstanding occurred in Augustine's treatment of lust as more bad, unlike anger, because disobedient to the will. He overlooked that he was comparing the first movements of lust with actual actions of anger.

Keywords:   first movements, bad thoughts, Augustine, Pelagians, Aulus Gellius, apatheia, lust, fear, will

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