The Catholic University of America

Evans Defense

Mr. Joshua Evans presented his degree for the Doctors of Philosphy on Friday, December 11, 2015. His dissertation is titled, “Augustine's Unfinished Work Against Julian: The Ancient and Contemporary Dispute Over Concupiscence.”


Final Examination of
Mr. Joshua M. Evans
for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Friday, December 11, 2015
10a.m., Caldwell Room 125


“Augustine Unfinished Work Against Julian: The Ancient and Contemporary Dispute Over Concupiscence.”
Director: Mr. Joseph E. Capizzi, Ph.D.

Augustine of Hippo’s account of sexuality and concupiscence (concupiscentia; libido) has long been both praised and vilified.  Even so, scholars often cannot agree about what positions Augustine holds on fundamental issues within his account of concupiscence.  The first issue is whether Augustine thinks concupiscence is caused exclusively or primarily by the soul, or whether concupiscence is often caused by the body.  The second issue is whether Augustine thinks concupiscence in the form of sexual desire is wholly an effect of the fall or was present and good before the fall.  Within these interpretive debates, Augustine’s final book, contra Iulianum opus imperfectum (Unfinished Work in Answer to Julian), has been relatively neglected, especially in moral theology and ethics.   
Focusing on Augustine’s later works and drawing significantly on contra Iulianum opus imperfectum, I argue that the bodily element of concupiscence is central to Augustine’s mature theology of sexuality and is central to understanding Augustine’s final position on Edenic concupiscence.

Chapter one shows that rival interpretations of Augustine’s claims about bodily desire and sexual desire in Eden often underlie rival evaluative claims about Augustine’s views on sexuality and concupiscence.  Chapter two examines Augustine’s dispute with Julian of Eclanum and shows how Augustine’s views on concupiscence and the fallen body emerge from Augustine’s broader theological commitments regarding God, creation, and God’s original plan for human nature.  Chapter three shows that Augustine’s mature theology holds that concupiscence is very often a desire of the body distinct from desires of the will.  Here I show how Augustine’s theory of bodily desire fits well with his broader anthropological commitments regarding sensation and embodiment.  Chapter four applies Augustine’s account of bodily desire to his development on the issue of sexual desire in Eden.  I show that Augustine develops significantly on the issue, with his final position incontra Iulianum opus imperfectum being that sexual concupiscence might or might not have been present in Eden.  I show how Augustine’s final ambivalent position results from tensions within Augustine’s account of bodily desire.  Overall, the project is in conversation with scholarship in theology, philosophy, history, and gender and sexuality studies. 

About Joshua:

Joshua M. Evans, a native of northern Illinois, completed his Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Religion and Philosophy in 2005 at Illinois Wesleyan University.  In 2009 he earned a Master of Arts in Religion degree with a concentration in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies in Religion from Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut.  In 2009 he entered the moral theology/ethics Ph.D. program at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
While pursuing his theological studies, Mr. Evans has served as a teaching fellow at Yale University and a teaching assistant and FYE teaching fellow in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America.  For the 2013-2014 academic year he held a one-year term position as Assistant Professor of Moral Theology at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia while also teaching as an adjunct instructor at The Catholic University of America.  Since 2014 he has served as a Professorial Lecturer in the Department of Theology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.  Since 2011 Josh has served as a Chaplain-in-Residence at Georgetown University, and he has also worked in campus ministry at the United States Naval Academy, University of Denver, Colorado School of Mines, and Quinnipiac University. 
Josh is married to Jamila Evans, and they have four children, three of whom were born during Josh’s time at The Catholic University of America: JJ, Charlie, Juliet and Annie.
Summary of Courses:
TRS        732F       Sex and Virtue
TRS        737A      Ethics and Action
TRS        737B      The Virtues
TRS        737C      Law in Moral Theology
TRS        737D      20th Century Theological Ethics
TRS        830E      Ethics & Politics in St. Augustine
TRS        834A      Morality and Emotion
TRS        835B      Moral Theology of St. Thomas
TRS        868D      Newman’s Theological Writings
PHIL      765         Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas
PHIL      770         Kant’s Moral & Political Philosophy
PHIL      878         Philosophy of Law
FREN     500         Reading for Comprehension
TRS        500A      Theological Latin
TRS        751A      Teaching/Learning: Focus Relig. Ed. & Catechetics
TRS        996B      Doctoral Dissertation Guidance