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Document Details :
Title: The Inner Life of Sinners
Subtitle: Saint Augustine on Penance as disciplina morum
Author(s): MOISEEVA, Evgenïa
Volume: 69 Issue: 1 Date: 2019
Repentance emerged as an important theme in Augustine’s works as early as 392 and continued to attract his attention for the rest of his life. While in Augustine’s later works his interest in repentance as a sacramental rite was largely stimulated by his responsibility as a bishop for the reconciliation of sinners, in early works written during the time of Augustine’s priesthood, significant attention is devoted to the personal dimension of penance. This essay explores Augustine’s discourse on penance as a process of personal moral renewal, based on the works he wrote during his priesthood. After reviewing the background and context of Augustine’s thinking on repentance, the article discusses three topics, namely, the relation between penance and will, emotions in the contrite soul, and the role of humility in the process of moral renewal. It will be shown that Augustine’s insight in human psychology resulted in a profound understanding of the moral dimension of penance.