I’ve been thinking about putting together a short book on friendship in the spiritual life, by expanding on a paper I wrote on the topic of friendship as part of my Great Books seminar during college. I posted the sections of that paper on my blog back in 2005.
Since many visitors arrive at my blog while searching for the posts on friendship, and because recent technical difficulties with my Blogger account have rendered the original posts a bit hard to find, I have reposted the articles here on my new WordPress blog.
I introduced my paper in this way:
The topic of friendship has been addressed through the ages in a variety of ways that reflect the very personal nature of friendship; each of the writers that I have researched for this paper have distinctive views on the subject, probably the result of their own personal experiences. However, my goal in writing this paper was not to discover why these writers have arrived at different interpretations of the nature of friendship. Instead, I wanted to examine recurring themes in order to arrive at a description, however incomplete, of what friendship truly is. I chose to analyze the ideas of Aristotle, Cicero, Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Michel de Montaigne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Robert Hugh Benson. What follows is a summary of my discoveries.
Here’s the outline for the college paper, along with links to each section:
Characteristics of True Friendship
* Shared situations and interests
* The nature of ideal friendship
* Exclusivity and perfect friendship
I’ve added a few sources and quotes this time around, and amended some sections.