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Passion's Triumph over ReasonA History of the Moral Imagination from Spenser to Rochester$
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Christopher Tilmouth

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212378

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212378.001.0001

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Augustinian and Aristotelian Influences from Herbert to Milton

Augustinian and Aristotelian Influences from Herbert to Milton

(p.157) 5 Augustinian and Aristotelian Influences from Herbert to Milton
Passion's Triumph over Reason

Christopher Tilmouth (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

There are two themes in this chapter. The first examines Augustine's anti-Stoic argument that passions informed by a good will (a will centred around a love of God) are intrinsically valuable. This praise of sanctified affections, also taken up by English Calvinists such as Fenner and Counter-Reformation theologians like Senault and François de Sales, sheds light on Herbert and Crashaw's devotional lyrics. The latter meditate upon the spiritual love and the laudable passions which suffuse a regenerate heart. The chapter's second theme is the Aristotelian revival of the 17th century. Here, moral treatises and university plays are examined as expressions of an Aristotelian philosophy which identifies rationally moderated emotions as valuable. Both of these trends find further expression in Paradise Lost where Milton exploits both Augustinian and Thomist paradigms of self-governance to anatomize Adam and Eve's moral psychology, and also the mechanisms of sinful self-delusion.

Keywords:   Augustine, will, sanctified affections, Crashaw, Aristotelianism, university plays, Paradise Lost, moral psychology, self-delusion

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