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"Latin: Incurvatus in se" (Turned/curved inward on oneself) is a theological phrase describing a life lived "inward" for self rather than "outward" for God and others.

Paul the Apostle wrote of this condition in the Epistle to the Romans 7:15, 7:8-19:

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. [...] For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

It was perhaps Augustine of Hippo who first coined the phrase incurvatus in se.[1] Martin Luther expounded on this in his Lectures on Romans and described this state as:

Our nature, by the corruption of the first sin, [being] so deeply curved in on itself that it not only bends the best gifts of God towards itself and enjoys them (as is plain in the works-righteous and hypocrites), or rather even uses God himself in order to attain these gifts, but it also fails to realize that it so wickedly, curvedly, and viciously seeks all things, even God, for its own sake."[2]

This was later extended by Karl Barth to include other sins beyond pride.[1] It is also believed that, even though people are justified by Jesus dying on the Cross, they still possess a propensity to sin against God because of this condition (i.e. simul justus et peccator).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Matt Jenson (2006). Gravity of Sin. T & T Clark. ISBN 978-0-567-03138-9. Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  2. ^ Johnston, Mark (6 July 2009), "6", Saving God, Princeton: Princeton University Press, p. 88, ISBN 978-0-691-14394-1, retrieved 2012-11-17 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incurvatus_in_se — Please support Wikipedia.
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23 news items

First Things
Sun, 16 Nov 2014 21:26:15 -0800

At its heart is a spiritual disorder, what Martin Luther (borrowing a phrase from Augustine) described as incurvatus in se, “twisted back into one's self.” In our own era, we have seen the evisceration of those communities that sustain us during the ...

Chron.com (blog)

Chron.com (blog)
Thu, 04 Dec 2014 04:56:38 -0800

On Homo Incurvatus in Se—Man Turned in on Himself—as and entry point for the discussion of sin in the 21st Century. When I speak on the subject, I use my hands a lot to describe how we get when we are turned in on ourselves and how this connects to ...


Wed, 03 Dec 2014 12:35:29 -0800

At its heart it's a spiritual disorder, what Martin Luther … and Augustine described as incurvatus in se, 'twisted back into one's self.' In our own era, we have seen the evisceration of those communities that sustain us during the most trying and ...
Patheos (blog)
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 02:39:59 -0700

Here is the latest about the Black Mass in Oklahoma City that we blogged about: The Catholic Archdiocese of the city sued to stop the ritual on the grounds that the Host was stolen. So the organizers returned the communion wafer to the Archdiocese ...
Patheos (blog)
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 02:56:15 -0700

Many Lutherans have pretty much abandoned the historic liturgy to embrace evangelical worship styles. And yet now, many evangelicals are embracing the historic liturgy. In fact, liturgy may be the latest thing in “contemporary” worship. If you don't ...
Patheos (blog)
Wed, 09 Apr 2014 03:35:53 -0700

We've blogged about Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, who wrote in the London Guardian that the poetry of George Herbert helped to convert her to Christianity from atheism. She is following up that essay with a series of articles on particular poems from ...
Tue, 11 Feb 2014 07:56:15 -0800

Otherwise it's just incurvatus in se. It's just another way of building myself up, buying my charity points.” Fr. Sirico: “And you see this in the Gospel, don't you? With the Pharisee who gives a tenth of his belongings and does it for everyone to see ...
Patheos (blog)
Mon, 28 Apr 2014 02:58:22 -0700

Recent Comments. Mike. SRSLY? The "It's legal, so it's not immoral" argument? Weak. Very weak. BTW,... Republican lawmakers cave on fetal pain bill · 2 hours ago · Scott A Miller. incurvatus in se. Republican lawmakers cave on fetal pain bill · 2 hours ...

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