The Inauthenticity of Pagan Virtue I: Jansenius

Michael Moriarty

in Disguised Vices

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199589371
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191728808 | DOI:
The Inauthenticity of Pagan Virtue I: Jansenius

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Jansenius sought to restate the pure doctrine of Augustine, free of scholastic formulations. Human beings, since the Fall, are prey to ignorance and concupiscence, a blind love of created things. As a result, their will, though free to choose one action rather than another, is not free to choose good rather than evil, unless it is liberated by divine grace. He rejects the whole scholastic conception of a morally good deed that does not contribute to the agent’s salvation. A good action must be inspired by the love of God, to whom, as the supreme good, all our actions should be directed. Works that fail to meet this criterion are sins, in the full sense. The pursuit of virtue for its own sake is discarded as a criterion of ethical value, because it comes down to self-pleasing, a narcissistic delight in one’s own perfection.

Keywords: Jansenius; Augustine; concupiscence; charity; will; grace; sin; self-pleasing

Chapter.  11445 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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