Religious Studies

Articles

Friendship, politics, and Augustine's consolidation of the self

FRANK VANDER VALKa1

a1 State University of New York, Empire State College, 111 West Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 e-mail: Frank.Vandervalk@esc.edu

Abstract

Friendship plays a central role in Augustine's thought. It also played a crucial role in structuring the political and social world of the ancient Greeks. Augustine's treatment of friendship, especially in his Confessions, retains some of the terminology that was central to the Greek account, but it simultaneously transforms friendship, and with it the relationship between individual and community. Augustine's formulation of the inner life is reflected in his transformation of friendship, which loses its inherently social character and political dimension even as it sets the stage for the introduction of political thinking based on the primacy of the individual.