Augustine and narrative ethics

Christopher J Thompson, Marquette University


The warrant for investigating the relationship between Augustine and narrative ethics is prompted, among other things, by a consideration of the appeals to Augustine among a diversity of views within the vast field of narrative ethics. Disparate thinkers from distinctively different backgrounds and with different motives and purposes, while all sharing an interest in the category of "narrative," also share a common interest (often unrecognized) in employing Augustine's Confessions in their efforts. Thus the question emerges as to what it is about this ancient text which so readily serves such diverse yet unified purposes. After a thorough investigation and evaluation of the appeals to Augustine among a sampling of contemporary narrativists (specifically, Alasdair MacIntyre, Stanley Hauerwas, George Stroup and Stephen Crites) I turn to the Confessions directly. I argue that an examination of the anti-Manichaean aspects of its composition yield important insights regarding its usefulness in the efforts of contemporary narrativists. Specifically, I argue that implicit in this work is a theology of creation which supplies essential foundations to the contemporary discussion of narrative ethics.

Recommended Citation

Thompson, Christopher J, "Augustine and narrative ethics" (1994). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9505913.