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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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14 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 ...

First Things (blog)

First Things (blog)
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 08:20:43 -0700

The buffered self is incurvatus in se, and psychology has, wittingly or not, merely reinforced that curvature. It's a striking indictment of psychology. Psychology provides management of selves that have lost the capacity for love and intimacy ...
Thu, 06 Nov 2014 09:32:06 -0800

Por ello, el aborto no es un problema médico, sanitario, social, jurídico o económico, sino humano, es el síntoma más crudo del actual homo incurvatus in se, de la ética de la mismidad donde el individuo y sus intereses son el bien supremo, falseando ...
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 ...
Virtue Online
Sat, 16 Nov 2013 15:17:53 -0800

Luther's memorable phrase is "cor incurvatus in se", the heart turned in upon itself. Set against this dark backdrop, the gospel of grace alone through faith alone shines in all its glory. Yet during the seventeenth century, a reform of moralism ...


Sat, 06 Sep 2014 07:08:38 -0700

Die innere Zerrissenheit, der homo incurvatus in se ipsum (wörtlich: „der auf sich selbst verkrümmte Mensch“), wie Martin Luther das nannte, ist eine Realität, die wir anerkennen müssen, genauso wie die Tatsache, dass das Leben nicht fair ist, und den ...
Christian Post
Thu, 12 Jul 2012 09:32:47 -0700

Such is the default curved-in-on-itself position of the human heart, or what Augustine termed incurvatus in se. Perhaps you've heard this tendency expressed as a legalistic formula: "The reason for suffering and the lack of abundant life among ...
Christian Post
Fri, 30 Dec 2011 06:35:00 -0800

As I mentioned in a post last week, the biggest difference between the practical effect of sin and the practical effect of the gospel is that sin turns us inward (homo incurvatus in se) and the gospel turns us upward and outward. We were designed to ...

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