United by Their Loves: Deciphering Augustine’s Understanding of a People

May 1, 2021
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Jennifer FreyUniversity of South Carolina

Russell HittingerLumen Christi Institute

Fr. Michael Sherwin, OPPontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas

This event is cosponsored by America Media.

The president in his inaugural address quoted Augustine of Hippo’s definition of a people as “a multitude defined by the common objects of their love.”  This surprising event offers us the occasion to consider Augustine’s definition and its implications for our understanding of life in society: what role do our loves play in fashioning us as people? Can disparate loves divide a people?  What does Augustine think we should love in order to belong to the people who inhabit the City of God?  Join us for a moderated conversation between Profs. Russell Hittinger, Michael Sherwin, O.P., and Jennifer Frey on Augustine and the loves that form a People.


Jennifer Frey is the incoming inaugural dean of the Honors College at the University of Tulsa. Through Spring of 2023, she served as Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina and as a fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America. She also previously served as a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department. Frey holds a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.A. from Indiana University-Bloomington. She has published widely on action, virtue, practical reason, and meta-ethics, and has recently co-edited an interdisciplinary volume, Self-Transcendence and Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology (Routledge, 2018)Her writing has also been featured in First ThingsFare ForwardImageLaw and LibertyPloughThe Point, and USA Today. She also hosts a popular philosophy and literature podcast, Sacred and Profane Love.

Russell Hittinger is Senior Fellow at the Lumen Christi Institute, Research Professor Ordinarius in the School of Philosophy and Senior Fellow Institute for Human
Ecology at the Catholic University of America, and Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies and Law at the University of Tulsa. He is also Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Hittinger is the author of many books, including A Critique of the New Natural Law Theory, The First Grace: Rediscovering Natural Law in a Post-Christian Age, Thomas Aquinas and the Rule of Law, and most recently Paper Wars: Catholic Social Doctrine and the Modern State (forthcoming).

Michael S. Sherwin, O.P. is Professor of Moral Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, and director of the Institute of Spirituality at the Angelicum. He is also Emeritus Professor of Fundamental Moral Theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and was the Alemany Research Fellow at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at Berkeley, for academic year 2021/2022.  Author of articles on the psychology of love, virtue ethics and moral development, his monograph, By Knowledge and By Love: Charity and Knowledge in the Moral Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas (CUA Press, 2005) has been reissued in paperback, while his collection of essays, On Love and Virtue (Emmaus Academic, 2018) has been described by Alasdair MacIntyre as “theological reflection at its best.”