The Spiritual Trial (Anfægtelse) of Divine Seduction: Temptation and the Confessing Self

Podmore, Simon D. (2017) The Spiritual Trial (Anfægtelse) of Divine Seduction: Temptation and the Confessing Self. In: Augustine and Kierkegaard, Augustine in Conversation: Tradition and Innovation. Rowman & Littlefield. (Unpublished)

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Within our contemporary ‘cultures of seduction’, the anxiety of temptation assumes an endemic yet trivialised presence. For both Augustine and Kierkegaard, however, ‘temptation’ performs a decisive role in the de/construction of the self’s relation to God, to others, and to itself. Temptation helps to open awareness of an estranged inner space of despair and self-alienation; while also giving rise to a consciousness of the longing for healing by Divine Grace. Reading through the “intersections” between Augustine’s Confessions and Kierkegaard’s development of the dialectical relationship between “temptation” (Fristelse) and “spiritual trial” (Anfægtelse), this essay proposes a constructive theological account of the role of tentatio in the narrative of ‘the confessing self’. In doing so I explore how the language of seduction is commensurate with the erotic longing of the restless self: how the self comes to itself through the confession of its seduction by “lower” and “higher” forms of desire before God. Through Augustine and Kierkegaard, I suggest a theology of ‘temptation’ and ‘spiritual trial’ which offers a critical alternative to the banality of temptation evident in our contemporary cultures of seduction.

Item Type: Book Section
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Theology, Philosophy and Religion
Depositing User: Simon Podmore
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2016 13:58
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2016 13:58

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