The Inauthenticity of Pagan Virtue II

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 II

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This chapter considers the critique of pagan virtue by a number of thinkers inspired by St Augustine, many, but not all, of whom were supporters of Jansenius. Among the Jansenists, Antoine Arnauld attacks Le Vayer’s suggestion that explicit faith in Christ is not necessary for salvation and defends the claim that all unbelievers’ actions are sins, since by definition they are not prompted by the love of God. Pascal agrees that philosophical (in particular Stoic) virtue leads to pride: love of God is the soul of Christian virtue, which far transcends the virtues of the pagans and Pharisees. Martin de Barcos restates the hard-line Augustinian position at length; Nicole, however, puts forward a more moderate view, dissenting from Jansenius on this point. Malebranche, not a Jansenist, provides an original approach to the issues. Fénelon and Leibniz are briefly discussed.

Keywords: Jansenism; Arnauld; Pascal; Martin de Barcos; Nicole; Malebranche; Fénelon; Leibniz

Chapter.  18999 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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