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Document Details :
Title: Preaching on the Disobedient Body
Subtitle: Does Augustine Present a Theology of Punitive concupiscentia carnis in his sermones ad populum?
Author(s): NISULA, Timo
Volume: 70 Issue: 1 Date: 2020
While Augustine’s preaching presents a wealthy amount of discussion on the bodily punishments and afflictions (illnesses, death) due to Adam and Eve’s primal sin, there seems to be one particular theme, in which the bishop of Hippo was not too keen to delve into in his sermones ad populum. This theme was concupiscentia carnis as a divine punishment for the fall, appearing as disobedient bodily movements during sexual intercourse. While the theme is amply present in Augustine’s theological treatises, the article raises the question whether the omission of punitive concupiscence in the sermons is only coincidental or – for some reason – deliberate. The article analyses a small number of sermons that present parallel motifs and images to those appearing in theological treatises that discuss punitive concupiscentia, and demonstrates that while these motifs are sometimes found separately or in varying combinations in Augustine’s sermons, the idea of concupiscentia carnis as a bodily disobedience and a divine punishment for the fall of the primi homines is extremely rare, if not non-existent in the sermons.