Amicitia and Caritas Christi: Friendship and the Love of Christ

Catherine Conybeare

in Paulinus Noster

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780199240722
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600494 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Amicitia and Caritas Christi: Friendship and the Love of Christ

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The chapter begins from the Ciceronian notion of friendship as ‘nothing other than a benevolent and loving accord in all things, divine and human’, and shows how Christian letter‐writers revised the idea to make Christ the crucial element in true friendship. This leads to discussion of the terminology of Christian friendship: caritas or amicitia? In Christian friendship, the disadvantage of geographical separation is transformed into spiritual advantage – supported by the theological notions of unanimitas and Christians as membra Christi. Christian friendship is instantaneous; it is also inclusive – even, in theory, of women. Specific friendships of Paulinus are discussed: with Sulpicius Severus; with St Felix of Nola.

Keywords: amicitia; Augustine; caritas; Cicero; Felix; friendship; membra; Sulpicius Severus; unanimitas

Chapter.  14947 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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