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The Nature of LovePlato to Luther$
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Irving Singer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262512725

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262512725.001.0001

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Religious Idealization

Religious Idealization

Chapter:
(p.343) 15 Religious Idealization
Source:
The Nature of Love
Author(s):

Irving Singer

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262512725.003.0015

This chapter discusses how Christianity is based on the love of persons. In formulating the ethics of the Catholic Church, St. Augustine posits that the love of persons is the highest virtue and the basis for all morality—subsuming justice, wisdom, temperance, and courage under love. Listed by Plato in the Republic as cardinal virtues, St. Augustine states that these cannot be virtues without love. Although Plato had suggested in the Symposium that love was the pinnacle of the good life, this thought was not pursued in the Republic. Luther, on the other hand, believes that the love of persons is created by the supreme goodness of God, an idealization which, however, fails to provide an understanding of how to love another person, rendering it impossible.

Keywords:   Christianity, love of persons, Catholic Church, St. Augustine, Plato, Symposium, Republic, Luther, idealization, ethics

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