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ERIC Number: EJ811447
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Aug
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-0968-7599
Reason, Grace and Charity: Augustine and the Impact of Church Doctrine on the Construction of Intellectual Disability
Stainton, Tim
Disability & Society, v23 n5 p485-496 Aug 2008
This paper examines how early church doctrine influenced the construction of and response to intellectual disability. Though the main focus of the paper is on intellectual disability, much of the discussion is more broadly relevant to other types of impairments and human differences. The vehicle for this examination is the work of the key figure in the development and codification of church doctrine, Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430 CE). The paper concludes that while church doctrine mitigated the stark association of reason and human value found in classical Greek thought, it did not engender an attitude of equality in this world. The ideas of grace and the "divine plan", while opening up a limited space for acceptance and broad equality in the eyes of God, also reinforced and legitimated an inferior position in this world, leaving those considered to have an intellectual disability on the margins of social life and subject to a charity ultimately undertaken for the salvation of the giver, rather than for the welfare of the recipient. Subsidiary themes related to the construction of intellectual disability, such as "object lessons to the wise" or as "monsters", use as sources of amusement, innocence and their association with children and the charity ethic, are also examined. (Contains 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A