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Journal of Religious Ethics


Augustine, Stoicism, Judicial ethics, Apatheia, Humanitas, Capital punishment, Justice, Rehabilitation


In this article, I offer a reading of City of God 19.6 that is consonant with Augustine’s message to real judges. Often read as a suggestion that torture and execution are judicially necessary, I argue that 19.6 actually calls such necessities into question, though this is not its primary purpose; first and foremost, 19.6 is an indictment of Stoic apatheia. Situating 19.6 within Augustine’s larger polemic against the Stoics, I find that it presents the Stoic judge as a man who lacks fellow feeling, and therefore, has only a parodic happiness, costly to himself and those judges. A new look at Augustine’s letters to judges confirms this reading, and shows that, for Augustine, the man of humanitas is the true model for the good judge, not the man of apatheia.




This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Ogle, Veronica Roberts. "Sheathing the Sword: Augustine and the Good Judge." Journal of Religious Ethics 46.4 (Dec. 2018): 718-747, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.


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