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Home > Fathers of the Church > On Marriage and Concupiscence (Augustine)

On Marriage and Concupiscence

IN TWO BOOKS, ADDRESSED TO THE COUNT VALERIUS

BY AURELIUS AUGUSTIN, BISHOP OF HIPPO; WRITTEN IN 419 AND 420,

Extract from Augustine's Retractions (Book II, Chapter 53): I addressed two books to the Illustrious Count Valerius, upon hearing that the Pelagians had brought sundry vague charges upon us—how, for instance, we condemned marriage by maintaining Original Sin. These books are entitled, On Marriage and Concupiscence. We maintain that marriage is good; and that it must not be supposed that the concupisence of the flesh, or "the law in our members which wars against the law of mind," is a fault of marriage. Conjugal chastity makes a good use of the evil of concupiscence in the procreation of children. My first treatise contained two books. The first of them found its way into the hands of Julianus the Pelagian, who wrote four books in opposition to it. Out of these, somebody extracted sundry passages, and sent them to Count Valerius; he handed them to us, and after I had received them I wrote a second book in answer to these extracts. The first book of this work of mine opens with these words: "Our new heretics, most beloved son Valerius," while the second begins thus: "Amid the cares of your duty as a soldier."

Companion Letter
Book I
Book II

About this page

Source. Translated by Peter Holmes and Robert Ernest Wallis, and revised by Benjamin B. Warfield. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 5. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1507.htm>.

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