This chapter turns to Augustine’s advice on using wealth to form and tend the various circles of oikeiōsis (e.g. familial piety, almsgiving/works of mercy, poverty). An illustration of competing goods appears in Augustine’s advice to wealthy householders on the negotiation of their interrelated responsibilities to care for the poor as well as their own private interests. Failure to discern the good in such cases is often highly contextual—as, for instance, when the good of familial obligation creates a false cover for material or spiritual greed. In the case of Ecdicia, one sees how the good of poverty can be pursued in such a way that it actually damages the goods of marriage and family life. Because Augustine scarcely discusses wealth and care for the poor outside his letters and sermons, this chapter fills a major lacuna in the received picture of what Augustine cares about.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.