By Carolinne White
This research offers the facts, derived from letters and theological works, for theories of Christian friendship as they have been constructed by means of the major fourth-century Church Fathers, either in East and West. the writer makes an attempt to determine how constant and optimistic is the image of friendship among Christians on the time, and considers friendship within the context of the relation among pagan thought and Christian principles. all the writers thought of had a profound effect on later a while in addition to all alone interval.
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Additional info for Christian Friendship in the Fourth Century
In his role as popular, if scholarly, moralist he discusses, for example, the problem of distinguishing the flatterer from a friend, saying that a degree of frankness is a sine qua non for true friendship, but difficult for the flatterer to practise. In the same essay he refers to the proverb about friendship being more useful than fire and water, admitting that pleasure and usefulness are important constituents of friendship: true friendship has three aims in particular, virtue which is good, intimacy which is pleasurable and advantage which is necessary (94B) - an interesting variation on the threefold division of friendship.
Aristotle even believes that if friends are absent from one another for a long time, their friendship is likely to dissolve. This is the reason why his Peripatetic followers insisted so strongly on the importance of maintaining the relationship by means of letters, for if an effort is not made to continue the friendship during periods of absence, the friends may be said to have affection towards one another but without fulfilling all the essential duties of true philia. Although such a relationship, based on rational choice, motivated by virtue and implying complete equality, is to be admired and encouraged, Aristotle rejected the idea that one should cultivate as many friends as possible (polyphilia).
This is the reason why his Peripatetic followers insisted so strongly on the importance of maintaining the relationship by means of letters, for if an effort is not made to continue the friendship during periods of absence, the friends may be said to have affection towards one another but without fulfilling all the essential duties of true philia. Although such a relationship, based on rational choice, motivated by virtue and implying complete equality, is to be admired and encouraged, Aristotle rejected the idea that one should cultivate as many friends as possible (polyphilia).