Augustine’s Problem, Jeff Nicoll
Jeff Nicoll

Augustine’s Problem

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Augustine's Problem provides a new approach to St. Augustine's life and doctrine, hypothesizing that his problem was not sexual addiction but sexual impotence. For Augustine, the problem with sex was not the seductive nature of women, but the unpredictability of desire, which can induce an unwanted erection or fail to provide one when even the mind would choose to have sex. He extends his personal incapacity to a general impotence of the will--we can never, without grace, choose any good. Just as the impotent man cannot work on his impotence, we cannot work on our salvation; only God can make a difference and predestines a tiny elect. The disobedience of the Garden is transferred to the disobedience of the male member, guaranteeing that the sin of Eden is transferred, in conception, as original sin. The most controversial elements of Augustine's theology are all linked to the theme of impotence, as expressed in his writings, from the Confessions to the anti-Pelagian works written at the end of his life.
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445 printed pages
Original publication



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