What was the early Christian and Augistinian view on self?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The self in Stoicism was defined by mind, soul, and body, all of which were considered physical substances. While people were all part of a cosmos, sharing with the world-soul the characteristic of having soul, the self was still individual and autonomous. Compared to popular Greek thought, the Stoics were less concerned with the self as defined by external goods and the life of the polis; instead they were part of a growing sense of "cosmopolitanism" that originated in the Hellenistic period.

Augustine marks a shift to an extremely inward looking notion of self, grounded in the notion of salvation by faith. Because salvatiopn depended not just on acts but on internal states, the Christian required constant self-scrutiny, in a manner unusual for the period.


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