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Document Details :

Title: Augustine on the Heart as the Centre of Human Happiness
Author(s): DUPONT, Anthony , WALRAET, Pierre-Paul
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 25    Date: 2015   
Pages: 45-77
DOI: 10.2143/SIS.25.0.3112888

Abstract :
The burning heart pierced with arrows is the iconographic symbol of the Church Father Augustine of Hippo (354-430) since the 15th century. The concept of the human heart does not only feature in Augustine’s account of his turbulent personal life, but plays a central role in his thinking as such. This contribution first explores Augustine’s more general anthropological understanding of the heart as the holistic identity centre of each person, as human interiority in general. Augustine does not oppose heart and head, but sees the heart as the seat both of human thinking and feeling. Second, his specific spiritual interpretation of the heart as the source of self knowledge and knowledge of God – the heart as the centre of human interiority/spirituality – is studied. Four interrelated contexts of Augustine’s ‘spirituality of the heart’ are discussed: the necessity to return to the heart, the appeal to rise up with the heart, the ideal of a society ‘one of heart’ and the invitation to pray with the heart.

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