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dc.contributor.authorJensen, Robin M.en_US
dc.contributor.editorSimkins, Ronald A.en_US
dc.contributor.editorCameron, Michaelen_US
dc.date.accessioned2018-09-07T18:23:05Z
dc.date.available2018-09-07T18:23:05Z
dc.date.issued2018
dc.identifier.issn1941-8450en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10504/119174
dc.description.abstractAugustine’s concern about the influence of witnessing brutal spectacles upon the human soul is expressed when he recounts his friend Alypius’s addiction to the arena in Confessions, Book 6. He elaborates this concern in several sermons and argues that the simple act of looking at certain kinds of images can have a deleterious effect on the beholder, asserting that, like Alypius, one can become enthralled to spiritually harmful sights and take perverse pleasure in others’ mental or physical pain. He adds that such pleasure makes viewers accessories to brutality and inures them to suffering, instead of developing their compassionate nature. Here he speaks of the “lust of the eyes” as a parallel to lust of the flesh, a lust that seeks novel experiences and is not repelled by observing violence. He acknowledges that for some listeners, the reading of martyrs’ acts could be an instance of this, but insists that those who hear the story and imagine the scenes with the right attitude are inspired to be sympathetic to the victims and uplifted by their heroic witness to Christ. In this way he discusses two different kinds of viewing arising from the beholder’s essential character: the material gaze versus the spiritual witness. This essay connects this discussion of positive and negative sights to Augustine’s theory of how the eye perceives and imprints visionary experiences on the memory and in turn affects the soul in both positive and negative ways. Because humans are vulnerable, even unintentionally, to the damage caused by seeing evil or cruel spectacles, they must consciously cultivate a gaze of charity and compassion.|Keywords: Alypius, Arena, idols, imagination, gladiatorial games, lust (of the eyes), martyrs (acts of), seeing (theory of), Venatores (beast fighters), victimsen_US
dc.publisherRabbi Myer and Dorothy Kripke Center, Creighton Universityen_US
dc.rightsThe journal is open-access and freely allows users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of all published material for personal or academic purposes.en_US
dc.titleKeeping Custody of the Eyes: Dangers of the Gaze in Augustine’s Consideration of Visual Imagesen_US
dc.typeJournal Articleen_US
dc.rights.holderRabbi Myer and Dorothy Kripke Center, Creighton Universityen_US
dc.description.volume15en_US
dc.publisher.locationOmaha, Nebraskaen_US
dc.title.workSupplement Series for the Journal of Religion & Societyen_US
dc.description.noteAugustine on Heart and Life: Essays in Memory of William Harmless, S.J.en_US


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