Volume 62, Issue 2, December 2022

Rashad Rehman
Pages 383-396

A Thomistic Reading of Alypius’ Curiositas in Augustine’s Confessiones (6, 8, 13)

What is Augustine’s commentary on Alypius’ curiosity (curiositas) at the gladiatorial show in Confessiones 6, 8, 13 fundamentally about? Augustinian scholars have interpreted the story widely. Following recent scholarly developments, this work argues for a distinctively Thomistic reading of Alypius’ curiositas. In 1987, Joseph Torchia interpreted this passage as putting only a secondary focus on the story’s emphasis on, in his words, «conflict with God, its inner self, and others». However, this triadic conflict is found in Aquinas: in his Commentary on the Gospel of John (14, 7), Aquinas argues that a conflict with God, self and others is what it means to lack peace (pax). Confessions 6, 8, 13 is read here through a Thomistic lens: the presentation of Alypius’ curiositas is fundamentally a statement about Alypius’ lack of peace.