Augustine of Hippo

Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo

Portrait by Philippe de Champaigne, 17th century.
Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church
Born November 13, 354(354-11-13)
Thagaste, Numidia (now Souk Ahras, Algeria)
Died August 28, 430(430-08-28) (aged 75)
Hippo Regius, Numidia (now modern-day Annaba, Algeria)
Honored in Catholic Church
Assyrian Church of the East
Eastern Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Anglican Communion
Aglipayan Church
Major shrine San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, Pavia, Italy
Feast August 28 (Western Christianity)
June 15 (Eastern Christianity)
November 4 (Assyrian)
Attributes child; dove; pen; shell, pierced heart, holding book with a small church, bishop's staff, miter
Patronage brewers; printers; theologians
Bridgeport, Connecticut; Cagayan de Oro, Philippines;
Influences Saint Monica, Plotinus, Ambrose, Anthony the Great, Saint Paul, Cyprian, Plato
Influenced Bernard of Clairvaux, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Martin Luther, René Descartes, Cornelius Jansen, Nicolas Malebranche, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Antonio Negri, Jean-Paul Sartre, Saint Bonaventure
Major work(s) Confessions of St. Augustine
City of God
On Christian Doctrine

Augustine of Hippo (/ɒˈɡʌstɨn/[1][2] or /ˈɔːɡəstɪn/;[2] Latin: Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis)[3] (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430), also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin,[4] St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed,[5] was Bishop of Hippo Regius (present-day Annaba, Algeria). He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province. His writings were very influential in the development of Western Christianity.

According to his contemporary, Jerome, Augustine "established anew the ancient Faith."[6] In his early years he was heavily influenced by Manichaeism and afterward by the Neo-Platonism of Plotinus.[7] After his conversion to Christianity and baptism in AD 387, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and different perspectives.[8] He believed that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, and he framed the concepts of original sin and just war.

When the Western Roman Empire was starting to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the Church as a spiritual City of God (in a book of the same name), distinct from the material Earthly City.[9] His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. Augustine's City of God was closely identified with the church, the community that worshipped God.[10]

In the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinian religious order; his memorial is celebrated 28 August, the day of his death. He is the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, the alleviation of sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses.[11] Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of Reformation due to his teaching on salvation and divine grace. In the Eastern Orthodox Church he is blessed, and his feast day is celebrated on 15 June.[12] Among the Orthodox, he is called "Blessed Augustine", or "St. Augustine the Blessed".[13]



Early childhood

Augustine at the school of Taghaste by Benozzo Gozzoli

Augustine was born in 354 in the municipium of Thagaste (now Souk Ahras, Algeria) in Roman Africa.[14][15] His father, Patricius, was a pagan, and his mother, Monica, was Christian. Scholars believe that Augustine's ancestors included Berbers, Latins and Phoenicians.[16] Augustine's family name, Aurelius, suggests that his father's ancestors were freedmen of the gens Aurelia. Augustine's family had been Roman, from a legal standpoint, for at least a century when he was born.[17] It is assumed that his mother, Monica, was of Berber origin, on the basis of her name,[16][18] but as his family were honestiores, Augustine's first language is likely to have been Latin.[16] At the age of 11, Augustine was sent to school at Madaurus (now M'Daourouch), a small Numidian city about 19 miles south of Thagaste. There he became familiar with Latin literature, as well as pagan beliefs and practices.[19] While at home in 369 and 370, he read Cicero's dialogue Hortensius (now lost), which he described as leaving a lasting impression on him and sparking his interest in philosophy.[20]

Studying at Carthage

At age 17, through the generosity of fellow citizen Romanianus,[20] Augustine went to Carthage to continue his education in rhetoric. Although raised as a Christian, Augustine left the church to follow the Manichaean religion, much to the despair of his mother, Monica.[21] As a youth Augustine lived a hedonistic lifestyle for a time, associating with young men who boasted of their sexual exploits with women and urged the inexperienced boys, like Augustine, to seek out experiences or to make up stories about experiences in order to gain acceptance and avoid ridicule.[22] It was during this period that he uttered his famous prayer, "Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet" (da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo).[23] At a young age, he began an affair with a young woman in Carthage. She was his lover for over thirteen years and gave birth to his son Adeodatus.[24]

Teaching rhetoric

During the years 373 and 374, Augustine taught grammar at Thagaste. The following year he moved to Carthage to conduct a school of rhetoric, and would remain there for the next nine years.[20] Disturbed by the unruly behavior of the students in Carthage, in 383 he moved to establish a school in Rome, where he believed the best and brightest rhetoricians practiced. However, Augustine was disappointed with the Roman schools, where he was met with apathy. Once the time came for his students to pay their fees they simply fled. Manichaean friends introduced him to the prefect of the City of Rome, Symmachus, who had been asked to provide a professor of rhetoric for the imperial court at Milan.[25]

"St Augustine and Monica" (1846), by Ary Scheffer.

Augustine won the job and headed north to take up his position in late 384. At the age of thirty, he had won the most visible academic position in the Latin world – at a time when such posts gave ready access to political careers. During this period, although Augustine showed some fervor for Manichaeism, he was never an initiate or "elect" but remained an "auditor", the lowest level in the sect's hierarchy.[25]

While he was in Milan, Augustine's life changed. While still at Carthage, he had begun to move away from Manichaeism, in part because of a disappointing meeting with the Manichean Bishop, Faustus of Mileve, a key exponent of Manichaean theology.[25] In Rome, he is reported to have completely turned away from Manichaeanism, and instead embraced the skepticism of the New Academy movement. At Milan, his mother pressured him to become a Christian. Augustine's own studies in Neoplatonism were also leading him in this direction, and his friend Simplicianus urged him that way as well.[20] But it was the bishop of Milan, Ambrose, who had most influence over Augustine. Ambrose was a master of rhetoric like Augustine himself, but older and more experienced.[26]

Augustine's mother had followed him to Milan and he allowed her to arrange a society marriage, for which he abandoned his concubine. It is believed that Augustine truly loved the woman he had lived with for so long. In his "Confessions," he expressed how deeply he was hurt by ending this relationship, and also admitted that the experience eventually produced a decreased sensitivity to pain over time. However, he had to wait two years until his fiancee came of age, so despite the grief he felt over leaving "The One", as he called her, he soon took another concubine. Augustine eventually broke off his engagement to his eleven-year-old fiancee, but never renewed his relationship with "The One" and soon left his second concubine.

It was because of otium that Alypius of Thagaste steered Augustine away from marriage. He said that they could not live a life together in the love of wisdom if he married. Augustine looked back years later on the life at Cassiciacum, a villa outside of Milan where he gathered with his followers, and described it as Christianae vita otium - the Christian life of leisure. [27] Augustine had been awarded a job of professor of rhetoric in Milan at the time he was living at Cassiciacum around A.D. 383. In 388 he returned to Africa and his home country and pursued a life of aristocratic otium at his family's property.[28][29] In 391 he was ordained bishop of Hippo Regius (hence obtaining the name "Augustine of Hippo") and gave his property to the church of Thagaste.[30]

Christian conversion

In the summer of 386, after having heard a the story of Placianus about he and his friends first reading of the life of Saint Anthony of the Desert, which greatly inspired him, Augustine underwent a profound personal crisis, leading him to convert to Christianity, abandon his career in rhetoric, quit his teaching position in Milan, give up any ideas of marriage, and devote himself entirely to serving God and to the practices of priesthood, which included celibacy. According to Augustine his conversion was prompted by a childlike voice he heard telling him in a sing-song voice, "tolle, lege" ("take up and read"):

I cast myself down I know not how, under a certain fig-tree, giving full vent to my tears; and the floods of mine eyes gushed out an acceptable sacrifice to Thee. And, not indeed in these words, yet to this purpose, spake I much unto Thee: and Thou, O Lord, how long? how long, Lord, wilt Thou be angry for ever? Remember not our former iniquities, for I felt that I was held by them. I sent up these sorrowful words: How long, how long, "to-morrow, and tomorrow?" Why not now? why not is there this hour an end to my uncleanness? So was I speaking and weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when, lo! I heard from a neighbouring house a voice, as of boy or girl, I know not, chanting, and oft repeating, "Take up and read; Take up and read. " Instantly, my countenance altered, I began to think most intently whether children were wont in any kind of play to sing such words: nor could I remember ever to have heard the like. So checking the torrent of my tears, I arose; interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book, and read the first chapter I should find. For I had heard of Antony, that coming in during the reading of the Gospel, he received the admonition, as if what was being read was spoken to him: Go, sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me: and by such oracle he was forthwith converted unto Thee. Eagerly then I returned to the place where Alypius was sitting; for there had I laid the volume of the Apostle when I arose thence. I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell: Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, in concupiscence. No further would I read; nor needed I: for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away.

The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Book VIII, Paragraphs 28 and 29.

The volume Augustine read was Paul's Epistle to the Romans (Romans 13: 13-14). He wrote an account of his conversion in his Confessions, which became a classic of Christian theology. Ambrose baptized Augustine, along with his son, Adeodatus, on Easter Vigil in 387 in Milan, and a year later they returned to Africa.[20] Also in 388 he completed his apology On the Holiness of the Catholic Church.[25] On the way back to Africa Augustine's mother Monica died,[31] and Adeodatus soon after.[32]


Upon his return to north Africa Augustine sold his patrimony and gave the money to the poor. The only thing he kept was the family house, which he converted into a monastic foundation for himself and a group of friends.[20] In 391 he was ordained a priest in Hippo Regius (now Annaba, in Algeria). He became a famous preacher (more than 350 preserved sermons are believed to be authentic), and was noted for combating the Manichaean religion, to which he had formerly adhered.[25]

In 395 he was made coadjutor Bishop of Hippo, and became full Bishop shortly thereafter.[33] He remained in this position until his death in 430. Augustine worked tirelessly in trying to convince the people of Hippo to convert to Christianity. He left his monastery, but continued to lead a monastic life in the episcopal residence. He left a regula his monastery that has led him to be designated the "patron saint of regular clergy"[34]

Much of Augustine's later life was recorded by his friend Possidius, bishop of Calama (present-day Guelma, Algeria), in his Sancti Augustini Vita. Possidius admired Augustine as a man of powerful intellect and a stirring orator who took every opportunity to defend Christianity against its detractors. Possidius also described Augustine's personal traits in detail, drawing a portrait of a man who ate sparingly, worked tirelessly, despised gossip, shunned the temptations of the flesh, and exercised prudence in the financial stewardship of his see.[35]


Tomb in San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro Basilica, Pavia.

Shortly before Augustine's death, Roman Africa was invaded by the Vandals, a Germanic tribe that had converted to Arianism. The Vandals besieged Hippo in the spring of 430, when Augustine entered his final illness. According to Possidius one of the few miracles attributed to Augustine took place during the siege. While Augustine was confined to his sick bed, a man petitioned him that he might lay his hands upon a relative who was ill. Augustine replied that if he had any power to cure the sick, he would surely have applied it on himself first. The visitor declared that he was told in a dream to go to Augustine so that his relative would be made whole. When Augustine heard this, he no longer hesitated, but laid his hands upon the sick man, who departed from Augustine's presence healed.[36]

Possidius also gives a first-hand account of Augustine's death, which occurred on August 28, 430, while Hippo was still besieged. Augustine spent his final days in prayer and repentance, requesting that the penitential Psalms of David be hung on his walls so that he could read them. He directed that the library of the church in Hippo and all the books therein should be carefully preserved.[37] Shortly after his death the Vandals lifted the siege of Hippo, but they returned not long thereafter and burned the city. They destroyed all of it but Augustine's cathedral and library, which they left untouched.[38]

According to Bede's True Martyrology, Augustine's body was later removed to Cagliari, Sardinia by the Catholic bishops expelled from North Africa by Huneric. Around 720 his remains were moved again by Peter, bishop of Pavia and uncle of the Lombard king Liutprand, to the church of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, in order to save them from frequent coastal raids by Moors and Berbers.[citation needed] In January 1327 Pope John XXII issued the papal bull Veneranda Santorum Patrum, in which he appointed the Augustinians guardians of the tomb of Augustine, which was remade in 1362 and elaborately carved with bas-treliefs of scenes from Augustine's life. By that time, however, the actual remains of Augustine could not be authenticated. Stonemasons working in the crypt altar removed paving blocks and discovered a marble box. Within it were other boxes; in the third box were fragments of wood, numerous bones and bone fragments, and glass vials. Some of the workers later claimed to have seen the name "Augustine" written in charcoal on the top of the box. A factor complicating the authentication of the remains was that San Pietro was shared by two Augustinian religious orders in bitter rivalry.[citation needed] The Augustinians were expelled from Pavia in 1700, taking refuge in Milan with the relics of Augustine, and the disassembled Arca, which were removed to the cathedral there. San Pietro fell into disrepair and was a military magazine during the Napoleonic occupation of the city. It was finally rebuilt in the 1870s, under the urging of Agostino Gaetano Riboldi, and reconsecrated in 1896 when the relics of Augustine and the shrine were once again reinstalled.[39][40]


Augustine of Hippo

Augustine as depicted by Sandro Botticelli (c. 1480)
Era Ancient/Medieval
Region West
Occupation Bishop; Theologian; Philosopher
Nationality Roman
Tradition or
Platonism, Neoplatonism, Christian philosophy, Stoicism
Influences Paul, Ambrose, Plato, Aristotle, Mani, Cicero, Virgil, Plotinus
Influenced Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Bernard of Clairvaux, Hugh of Saint Victor, Martin Luther, John Calvin, René Descartes, Cornelius Jansen, Nicolas Malebranche, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Antonio Negri, Jean-Paul Sartre, Modern Phenomenology and Hermeneutics

Augustine was one of the most prolific Latin authors in terms of surviving works, and the list of his works consists of more than a hundred separate titles.[41] Please see a near-exhaustive list below. They include apologetic works against the heresies of the Arians, Donatists, Manichaeans and Pelagians, texts on Christian doctrine, notably De Doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine), exegetical works such as commentaries on Book of Genesis, the Psalms and Paul's Letter to the Romans, many sermons and letters, and the Retractationes (Retractions), a review of his earlier works which he wrote near the end of his life. Apart from those, Augustine is probably best known for his Confessiones (Confessions), which is a personal account of his earlier life, and for De civitate dei (Of the City of God, consisting of 22 books), which he wrote to restore the confidence of his fellow Christians, which was badly shaken by the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410. His De trinitate (On the Trinity), in which he developed what has become known as the 'psychological analogy' of the Trinity, is also among his masterpieces, and arguably one of the greatest theological works of all time. He also wrote On Free Choice Of The Will (De libero arbitrio), addressing why God gives humans free will that can be used for evil.

Influence as a theologian and thinker

Augustine was a bishop, priest, and father who remains a central figure, both within Christianity and in the history of Western thought, and is considered by modern historian Thomas Cahill to be the first medieval man and the last classical man.[42] In both his philosophical and theological reasoning, he was greatly influenced by Stoicism, Platonism and Neo-platonism, particularly by the work of Plotinus, author of the Enneads, probably through the mediation of Porphyry and Victorinus (as Pierre Hadot has argued). Although he later abandoned Neoplatonism some ideas are still visible in his early writings.[43] His generally favourable view of Neoplatonic thought contributed to the "baptism" of Greek thought and its entrance into the Christian and subsequently the European intellectual tradition. His early and influential writing on the human will, a central topic in ethics, would become a focus for later philosophers such as Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. In addition, Augustine was influenced by the works of Virgil (known for his teaching on language), Cicero (known for his teaching on argument), and Aristotle (particularly his Rhetoric and Poetics).

Augustine's concept of original sin was expounded in his works against the Pelagians. However, St. Thomas Aquinas took much of Augustine's theology while creating his own unique synthesis of Greek and Christian thought after the widespread rediscovery of the work of Aristotle. Augustine's doctrine of efficacious grace found eloquent expression in the works of Bernard of Clairvaux; also Reformation theologians such as Martin Luther and John Calvin would look back to him as their inspiration.

Augustine was canonized by popular acclaim, and later recognized as a Doctor of the Church in 1298 by Pope Boniface VIII.[citation needed] His feast day is August 28, the day on which he died. He is considered the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses.[11]

The latter part of Augustine's Confessions consists of an extended meditation on the nature of time. Even the agnostic philosopher Bertrand Russell was impressed by this. He wrote, "a very admirable relativistic theory of time. ... It contains a better and clearer statement than Kant's of the subjective theory of time - a theory which, since Kant, has been widely accepted among philosophers."[44] Catholic theologians generally subscribe to Augustine's belief that God exists outside of time in the "eternal present"; that time only exists within the created universe because only in space is time discernible through motion and change. His meditations on the nature of time are closely linked to his consideration of the human ability of memory. Frances Yates in her 1966 study The Art of Memory argues that a brief passage of the Confessions, 10.8.12, in which Augustine writes of walking up a flight of stairs and entering the vast fields of memory[45] clearly indicates that the ancient Romans were aware of how to use explicit spatial and architectural metaphors as a mnemonic technique for organizing large amounts of information.

Augustine's philosophical method, especially demonstrated in his Confessions, has had continuing influence on Continental philosophy throughout the 20th century. His descriptive approach to intentionality, memory, and language as these phenomena are experienced within consciousness and time anticipated and inspired the insights of modern phenomenology and hermeneutics. Edmund Husserl writes: "The analysis of time-consciousness is an age-old crux of descriptive psychology and theory of knowledge. The first thinker to be deeply sensitive to the immense difficulties to be found here was Augustine, who laboured almost to despair over this problem."[46] Martin Heidegger refers to Augustine's descriptive philosophy at several junctures in his influential work, Being and Time.[47] Hannah Arendt began her philosophical writing with a dissertation on Augustine's concept of love, Der Liebesbegriff bei Augustin (1929): "The young Arendt attempted to show that the philosophical basis for vita socialis in Augustine can be understood as residing in neighbourly love, grounded in his understanding of the common origin of humanity."[48] Jean Bethke Elshtain in Augustine and the Limits of Politics finds likeness between Augustine and Arendt in their concepts of evil: "Augustine did not see evil as glamorously demonic but rather as absence of good, something which paradoxically is really nothing. Arendt ... envisioned even the extreme evil which produced the Holocaust as merely banal [in Eichmann in Jerusalem]."[49] Augustine's philosophical legacy continues to influence contemporary critical theory through the contributions and inheritors of these 20th century figures.

According to Leo Ruickbie, Augustine's arguments against magic, differentiating it from miracle, were crucial in the early Church's fight against paganism and became a central thesis in the later denunciation of witches and witchcraft. According to Professor Deepak Lal, Augustine's vision of the heavenly city has influenced the secular projects and traditions of the Enlightenment, Marxism, Freudianism and Eco-fundamentalism.[50]

Influence on St. Thomas Aquinas

For quotations of St. Augustine by St. Thomas Aquinas see Aquinas and the Sacraments and Thought of Thomas Aquinas.

On the topic of original sin, Aquinas proposed a more optimistic view of man than that of Augustine in that his conception leaves to the reason, will, and passions of fallen man their natural powers even after the Fall.[51]

Influence on Protestant reformers

While in his pre-Pelagian writings Augustine taught that Adam's guilt as transmitted to his descendants much enfeebles, though does not destroy, the freedom of their will, Protestant reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin affirmed that Original Sin completely destroyed liberty (see total depravity).[51]


Abortion and ensoulment

Like other Church Fathers, St Augustine "vigorously condemned the practice of induced abortion" as a crime, in any stage of pregnancy, .[52]


Augustine was one of the first Christian ancient Latin authors with very clear anthropological vision.[53] He saw the human being as a perfect unity of two substances: soul and body. In his late treatise On Care to Be Had for the Dead, section 5 (420 AD) he exhorted to respect the body on the grounds that it belonged to the very nature of the human person:

In no wise are the bodies themselves to be spurned. (...) For these pertain not to ornament or aid which is applied from without, but to the very nature of man.[54]

Augustine's favourite figure to describe body-soul unity is marriage: caro tua, coniunx tua - your body is your wife.[55] Initially, the two elements were in perfect harmony. After the fall of humanity they are now experiencing dramatic combat between one another.

They are two categorically different things. The body is a three-dimensional object composed of the four elements, whereas the soul has no spatial dimensions.[56] Soul is a kind of substance, participating in reason, fit for ruling the body.[57] Augustine was not preoccupied, as Plato and Descartes were, with going too much into details in efforts to explain the metaphysics of the soul-body union. It suffices for him to admit that they are metaphysically distinct; to be a human is to be a composite of soul and body, and that the soul is superior to the body. The latter statement is grounded in his hierarchical classification of things into those that merely exist, those that exist and live, and those that exist, live, and have intelligence or reason.[58]


Augustine's contemporaries often believed astrology to be an exact and genuine science. Its practitioners were regarded as true men of learning and called mathemathici. Astrology played a prominent part in Manichean doctrine, and Augustine himself was attracted by their books in his youth, being particularly fascinated by those who claimed to foretell the future. Later as a bishop he used to warn that one should avoid astrologers who combine science and horoscopes. (Augustine's term "mathematici". meaning "astrologers", is sometimes mistranslated as "mathematicians".) According to Augustine, they were not genuine students of Hipparchus or Eratosthenes but "common swindlers":[59][60][61][62]

Hence, a devout Christian must avoid astrologers and all impious soothsayers, especially when they tell you the truth, for fear of leading his soul into error by consorting with demons and entangling himself with the bonds of such association.

The Literal Meaning of Genesis[63]


Against the Pelagians Augustine strongly stressed the importance of infant baptism. About the question if baptism is an absolute necessity for salvation however, Augustine appears to have refined his beliefs during his lifetime, causing some confusion among later theologians about his position. He said in one of his sermons:

"God does not remit sins but to the baptized".

A Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed, Paragraph 16

This belief was shared by many early Christians.

However, a passage from his City of God, concerning the Apocalypse, may indicate that Augustine did believe in an exception for children born to Christian parents:

"But what shall become of the little ones? For it is beyond all belief that in these days [the Apocalypse] there shall not be found some Christian children born, but not yet baptized, and that there shall not also be some born during that very period; and if there be such, we cannot believe that their parents shall not find some way of bringing them to the laver of regeneration."

City of God, Book 20, Chapter 8


In "The Literal Interpretation of Genesis" Augustine took the view that everything in the universe was created simultaneously by God, and not in seven calendar days like a plain account of Genesis would require. He argued that the six-day structure of creation presented in the book of Genesis represents a logical framework, rather than the passage of time in a physical way - it would bear a spiritual, rather than physical, meaning, which is no less literal. One reason for this interpretation is the passage in Sirach 18:1, creavit omni simul ("he created all things at once"), which Augustine took as proof that the days of Genesis 1 had to be taken non-literally.[64] At the same time, however, Augustine did not hold to an age of the earth of millions or more years, as the quotation below from The City of God indicates. Augustine also does not envision original sin as originating structural changes in the universe, and even suggests that the bodies of Adam and Eve were already created mortal before the Fall. Apart from his specific views, Augustine recognizes that the interpretation of the creation story is difficult, and remarks that we should be willing to change our mind about it as new information comes up.[65]

In "City of God", Augustine rejected both the immortality of the human race proposed by pagans, and contemporary ideas of ages (such as those of certain Greeks and Egyptians) that differed from the Church's sacred writings:

Let us, then, omit the conjectures of men who know not what they say, when they speak of the nature and origin of the human race. For some hold the same opinion regarding men that they hold regarding the world itself, that they have always been... They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6000 years have yet passed.

Augustine, Of the Falseness of the History Which Allots Many Thousand Years to the World's Past, The City of God, Book 12: Chapt. 10 [419].


Augustine developed his doctrine of The Church principally in reaction to the Donatist sect. He taught a distinction between the "church visible" and "church invisible". The former is the institutional body on earth which proclaims salvation and administers the sacraments while the latter is the invisible body of the elect, made up of genuine believers from all ages, and who are known only to God. The visible church will be made up of "wheat" and "tares", that is, good and wicked people (as per Mat. 13:30), until the end of time. This concept countered the Donatist claim that they were the only "true" or "pure" church on earth.[66]

Augustine's ecclesiology was more fully developed in City of God. There he conceives of the church as a heavenly city or kingdom, ruled by love, which will ultimately triumph over all earthly empires which are self-indulgent and ruled by pride. Augustine followed Cyprian in teaching that the bishops of the church are the successors of the apostles.[66]


Augustine originally believed that Christ would establish a literal 1,000-year kingdom prior to the general resurrection (premillennialism or chiliasm) but rejected the system as carnal. He was the first theologian to systematically expound a doctrine of amillennialism, although some theologians and Christian historians believe his position was closer to that of modern postmillennialists. The mediaeval Catholic church built its system of eschatology on Augustinian amillennialism, where the Christ rules the earth spiritually through his triumphant church.[67] At the Reformation, theologians such as John Calvin accepted amillennialism while rejecting aspects of mediaeval ecclesiology which had been built on Augustine's teaching.

Augustine taught that the eternal fate of the soul is determined at death,[68][69] and that purgatorial fires of the intermediate state purify only those that died in communion with the Church. His teaching provided fuel for later theology.[68]

Epistemological views

Augustine's intellectual development was shaped by epistemological concerns. His early dialogues (Contra academicos (386) and De Magistro (389)), both written shortly after his conversion to Christianity, reflect his engagement with skeptical arguments and show the development of his doctrine of inner illumination. Augustine also posed the problem of other minds throughout different works, most famously perhaps in On the Trinity (VIII.6.9), and develops what has come to be a standard solution: the argument from analogy to other minds.[70] In contrast to Plato and other earlier philosophers, Augustine recognizes the centrality of testimony to human knowledge and argues that what others tell us can provide knowledge even if we don't have independent reasons to believe their testimonial reports.[71]

Intercession of the Saints

In his book Confessions, Augustine wrote of a peculiar practice of his Christian mother, Monica, in which she "brought to certain oratories, erected in the memory of the saints, offerings of porridge, bread, and wine."[72] When she moved to Milan, the bishop Ambrose forbade her to use the offering of wine, since "it might be an occasion of gluttony for those who were already given to drink". So, Augustine wrote of her:

In place of a basket filled with fruits of the earth, she had learned to bring to the oratories of the martyrs a heart full of purer petitions, and to give all that she could to the poor - so that the communion of the Lord's body might be rightly celebrated in those places where, after the example of his passion, the martyrs had been sacrificed and crowned.

Confessions 6.2.2

Just war

Augustine agreed strongly with the conventional wisdom of the time, that Christians should be pacifists in their personal lives. But he routinely argued that this did not apply to the defense of innocents. In essence, the pursuit of peace must include the option of fighting to preserve it in the long-term.[73] Such a war could not be preemptive, but defensive, to restore peace.[74]

Thomas Aquinas, centuries later, used the authority of Augustine's arguments in an attempt to define the conditions under which a war could be just:[75]

  • First, war must occur for a good and just purpose rather than for self-gain or as an exercise of power.
  • Second, just war must be waged by a properly instituted authority such as the state.
  • Third, peace must be a central motive even in the midst of violence.[76]


Although Augustine did not develop an independent Mariology, his statements on Mary surpass in number and depth those of other early writers.[77] Even before the Council of Ephesus, he defended the ever Virgin Mary as the Mother of God, who, because of her virginity, is full of grace.[78] Likewise, he affirmed that the Virgin Mary “conceived as virgin, gave birth as virgin and stayed virgin forever”.[79]

Natural knowledge and biblical interpretation

Augustine took the view that the Biblical text should not be interpreted as properly literal, but rather as metaphorical, if it contradicts what we know from science and our God-given reason. While each passage of Scripture has a literal sense, this "literal sense" does not always mean that the Scriptures are mere history; at times they are rather an extended metaphor. In The Literal Interpretation of Genesis, St. Augustine wrote:

It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.

De Genesi ad literam 1:19–20, Chapt. 19 [408]

With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation.

De Genesi ad literam, 2:9

A more clear distinction between "metaphorical" and "literal" in literary texts arose with the rise of the Scientific Revolution, although its source could be found in earlier writings, such as those of Herodotus (5th century BC). It was even considered heretical to interpret the Bible literally at times.[80][clarification needed]

Original sin

Augustine taught that Original sin of Adam and Eve was either an act of foolishness (insipientia) followed by pride and disobedience to God or the opposite: pride came first.[81] The first couple disobeyed God, who had told them not to eat of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:17).[82] The tree was a symbol of the order of creation.[83] Self-centeredness made Adam and Eve eat of it, thus failing to acknowledge and respect the world as it was created by God, with its hierarchy of beings and values.[84] They would not have fallen into pride and lack of wisdom, if Satan hadn't sown into their senses "the root of evil" (radix Mali).[85] Their nature was wounded by concupiscence or libido, which affected human intelligence and will, as well as affections and desires, including sexual desire.[86] In terms of Metaphysics, concupiscence is not a being but bad quality, the privation of good or a wound.[87]

Augustine's understanding of the consequences of the original sin and of necessity of the redeeming grace was developed in the struggle against Pelagius and his pelagian disciples, Caelestius and Julian of Eclanum,[66] who had been inspired by Rufinus of Syria, a disciple of Theodore of Mopsuestia.[88] They refused to agree that libido wounded human will and mind, insisting that the human nature was given the power to act, to speak, and to think when God created it. Human nature cannot lose its moral capacity for doing good, but a person is free to act or not to act in a righteous way. Pelagius gave an example of eyes: they have capacity for seeing, but a person can make either good or bad use of it.[89] Like Jovinian, pelagians insisted that human affections and desires were not touched by the fall either. Immorality, e.g. fornication, is exclusively a matter of will, i.e. a person does not use natural desires in a proper way. In opposition to that, Augustine pointed out to the apparent disobedience of the flesh to the spirit, and explained it as one of the results of original sin, punishment of Adam and Eve's disobedience to God:

For it was not fit that His creature should blush at the work of his Creator; but by a just punishment the disobedience of the members was the retribution to the disobedience of the first man, for which disobedience they blushed when they covered with fig-leaves those shameful parts which previously were not shameful.
(...) As, therefore, they were so suddenly ashamed of their nakedness, which they were daily in the habit of looking upon and were not confused, that they could now no longer bear those members naked, but immediately took care to cover them; did not they—he in the open, she in the hidden impulse—perceive those members to be disobedient to the choice of their will, which certainly they ought to have ruled like the rest by their voluntary command? And this they deservedly suffered, because they themselves also were not obedient to their Lord. Therefore they blushed that they in such wise had not manifested service to their Creator, that they should deserve to lose dominion over those members by which children were to be procreated.

Against Two Letters of the Pelagians 1.31-32

Augustine had served as a "Hearer" for the Manicheans for about nine years,[90] who taught that the original sin was carnal knowledge.[91] But his struggle to understand the cause of evil in the world started before that, at the age of nineteen.[92] By malum (evil) he understood most of all concupiscence, which he interpreted as a vice dominating person and causing in men and women moral disorder. A. Trapè insists that Augustine's personal experience cannot be credited for his doctrine about concupiscence. His marriage experience, though Christian marriage celebration was missing, was exemplary, very normal and by no means specifically sad.[93] As J. Brachtendorf showed, Augustine used Ciceronian Stoic concept of passions, to interpret St. Paul's doctrine of universal sin and redemption.[94]

The view that not only human soul but also senses were influenced by the fall of Adam and Eve was prevalent in Augustine's time among the Fathers of the Church.[95] It is clear that the reason of Augustine's distance towards the affairs of the flesh was different than that of Plotinus, a neo-Platonist[96] who taught that only through disdain for fleshly desire could one reach the ultimate state of mankind.[97] Augustine taught the redemption, i.e. transformation and purification, of the body in the resurrection.[98]

Some authors perceive Augustine's doctrine as directed against human sexuality and attribute his insistence on continence and devotion to God as coming from Augustine's need to reject his own highly sensual nature as described in the Confessions. But in view of his writings it is apparently a misunderstanding.[99] Augustine teaches that human sexuality has been wounded, together with the whole of human nature, and requires redemption of Christ. That healing is a process realized in conjugal acts. The virtue of continence is achieved thanks to the grace of the sacrament of Christian marriage, which becomes therefore a remedium concupiscentiae - remedy of concupiscence.[100][101] The redemption of human sexuality will be, however, fully accomplished only in the resurrection of the body.[102]

The sin of Adam is inherited by all human beings. Already in his pre-Pelagian writings, Augustine taught that Original Sin was transmitted by concupiscence,[103] which he regarded as the passion of both, soul and body,[104] making humanity a massa damnata (mass of perdition, condemned crowd) and much enfeebling, though not destroying, the freedom of the will.

Augustine's formulation of the doctrine of original sin was confirmed at numerous councils, i.e. Carthage (418), Ephesus (431), Orange (529), Trent (1546) and by popes, i.e. Pope Innocent I (401–417) and Pope Zosimus (417–418). Anselm of Canterbury established in his Cur Deus Homo the definition that was followed by the great Schoolmen, namely that Original Sin is the "privation of the righteousness which every man ought to possess", thus interpreting concupiscence as something more than mere sexual lust, with which some Augustine's disciples had defined it[105] as later did Luther and Calvin, a doctrine condemned in 1567 by Pope Pius V.[51]

Lutherans and Calvinists disaccordingly claim that, according to Augustine, human beings are utterly depraved in nature. According to them, humans are spoiled by the original sin to the extent that the very presence of concupiscence, fomes peccati (incendiary of sin), is already a personal sin.[106] Augustine's doctrine about the liberum arbitrium or free will and its inability to respond to the will of God without divine grace is interpreted (mistakenly according to Roman Catholics) in terms of Predestination: grace is irresistible, results in conversion, and leads to perseverance. The Calvinist view of Augustine's teachings rests on the assertion that God has foreordained, from eternity, those who will be saved. The number of the elect is fixed.[66] God has chosen the elect certainly and gratuitously, without any previous merit (ante merita) on their part.

The Catholic Church considers Augustine's teaching to be consistent with free will.[107] He often said that any can be saved if they wish.[107] While God knows who will be saved and who will not, with no possibility that one destined to be lost will be saved, this knowledge represents God's perfect knowledge of how humans will freely choose their destinies.[107]

Sacramental theology

Also in reaction against the Donatists, Augustine developed a distinction between the "regularity" and "validity" of the sacraments. Regular sacraments are performed by clergy of the Catholic Church while sacraments performed by schismatics are considered irregular. Nevertheless, the validity of the sacraments do not depend upon the holiness of the priests who perform them (ex opere operato); therefore, irregular sacraments are still accepted as valid provided they are done in the name of Christ and in the manner prescribed by the Church. On this point Augustine departs from the earlier teaching of Cyprian, who taught that converts from schismatic movements must be re-baptised.[66]


Convinced of the Real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Augustine made the following logical observation regarding this sacrament: "Christ was carried in his own hands when, referring to his own body, he said, ‘This is my body’ [Matt. 26:26]. For he carried that body in his hands."[108]

In a sermon addressed to new Christians, Augustine explicitly described the bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ.

I promised you [new Christians], who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord’s Table. . . . That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ.[109]
What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does not desire instruction".[110]


Augustine made several statements concerning his views on the limitations of the atonement, such as:

The garden of the Lord's brothers and sisters, includes, yes it includes, it certainly includes not only the roses of martyrs but also the lilies of virgins, and the ivy of married people and the violets of widows. There is absolutely no kind of human beings, dearly beloved, who need to despair of their vocation; Christ suffered for all. It was truly written, it is he "who wishes all men to be saved and to come to the acknowledgment of the truth."

Sermon 304.2

Statements on Jews

Against certain Christian movements, some of which rejected the use of Hebrew Scripture, Augustine countered that God had chosen the Jews as a special people,[111] and he considered the scattering of Jews by the Roman Empire to be a fulfillment of prophecy.[112]

Augustine also quotes part of the same prophecy that says "Slay them not, lest they should at last forget Thy law" (Psalm 59:11). Augustine argued that God had allowed the Jews to survive this dispersion as a warning to Christians, thus they were to be permitted to dwell in Christian lands. Augustine further argued that the Jews would be converted at the end of time.[113]

Views on lust

Augustine struggled with lust throughout his life. He had a mistress before he converted, but once he became a Christian, he condemned all forms of extra-marital sex (including his previous relationship with his mistress), considering them unlawful and unbiblical. In the Confessions, Augustine describes his personal struggle in vivid terms: "But I, wretched, most wretched, in the very commencement of my early youth, had begged chastity of Thee, and said, 'Grant me chastity and continence, only not yet.'"[114] At sixteen Augustine moved to Carthage where again he was plagued by this "wretched sin":

There seethed all around me a cauldron of lawless loves. I loved not yet, yet I loved to love, and out of a deep-seated want, I hated myself for wanting not. I sought what I might love, in love with loving, and I hated safety... To love then, and to be beloved, was sweet to me; but more, when I obtained to enjoy the person I loved. I defiled, therefore, the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence, and I beclouded its brightness with the hell of lustfulness.

Confessions 3.1.1

For Augustine, the evil was not in the sexual act itself, but rather in the emotions that typically accompany it. In On Christian Doctrine Augustine contrasts love and lust:

By love I mean the impulse of one's mind to enjoy God on his own account and to enjoy oneself and one's neighbour on account of God, and by lust I mean the impulse of one's mind to enjoy oneself and one's neighbour and any corporeal thing not on account of God.


Here we can see the theoretical resolution of the struggle documented in Confessions: that proper love exercises a denial of selfish pleasure and the subjugation of corporeal desire to God.

To the pious virgins raped during the sack of Rome, he writes, "Truth, another's lust cannot pollute thee." Chastity is "a virtue of the mind, and is not lost by rape, but is lost by the intention of sin, even if unperformed."[115][116]

Augustine viewed erections themselves as involuntary: at times, without intention, the body stirs on its own, insistent; at other times, it leaves a straining lover in the lurch.[117]

In short, Augustine's life experience led him to consider lust to be one of the most grievous sins, and a serious obstacle to the virtuous life.

Teaching philosophy

Augustine is considered an influential figure in the history of education. He introduced the theory of three different categories of students, and instructed teachers to adapt their teaching styles to each student's individual learning style. The three different kinds of students are: the student who has been well-educated by knowledgeable teachers; the student who has had no education; and the student who has had a poor education, but believes himself to be well-educated. If a student has been well educated in a wide variety of subjects, the teacher must be careful not to repeat what they have already learned, but to challenge the student with material which they do not yet know thoroughly. With the student who has had no education, the teacher must be patient, willing to repeat things until the student understands, and sympathetic. Perhaps the most difficult student, however, is the one with an inferior education who believes he understands something when he does not. Augustine stressed the importance of showing this type of student the difference between "having words and having understanding," and of helping the student to remain humble with his acquisition of knowledge.

Another radical idea which Augustine introduced is the idea of teachers responding positively to the questions they may receive from their students, no matter if the student interrupted his teacher. Augustine also founded the restrained style of teaching. This teaching style ensures the students' full understanding of a concept because the teacher does not bombard the student with too much material; focuses on one topic at a time; helps them discover what they don't understand, rather than moving on too quickly; anticipates questions; and helps them learn to solve difficulties and find solutions to problems. Yet another of Augustine's major contributions to education is his study on the styles of teaching. He claimed there are two basic styles a teacher uses when speaking to the students. The mixed style includes complex and sometimes showy language to help students see the beautiful artistry of the subject they are studying. The grand style is not quite as elegant as the mixed style, but is exciting and heartfelt, with the purpose of igniting the same passion in the students' hearts.[118][Full citation needed]

Augustine balanced his teaching philosophy with the traditional Bible-based practice of strict discipline. For example, he agreed with using punishment as an incentive for children to learn. He believed all people tend toward evil, and students must therefore be physically punished when they allow their evil desires to direct their actions.[119][Full citation needed]

List of Works (books, letters and sermons)

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."

Saint Augustine
  • On Christian Doctrine (Latin: De doctrina Christiana, 397-426)
  • Confessions (Confessiones, 397-398)
  • The City of God (De civitate Dei, begun ca. 413, finished 426)
  • On the Trinity (De trinitate, 400-416)
  • Enchiridion (Enchiridion ad Laurentium, seu de fide, spe et caritate)
  • Retractions (Retractationes): At the end of his life (ca. 426-428) Augustine revisited his previous works in chronological order. The English translation of the title has led some to assume that at the end of his career, Augustine retreated from his earlier theological positions. In fact, the Latin title literally means 're-treatments" (not "Retractions") and though in this work Augustine suggested what he would have said differently, it provides little in the way of actual "retraction." It does, however, give the reader a rare picture of the development of a writer and his final thoughts.
  • The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram)
  • On Free Choice of the Will (De libero arbitrio)
  • On the Catechising of the Uninstructed (De catechizandis rudibus)
  • On Faith and the Creed (De fide et symbolo)
  • Concerning Faith of Things Not Seen (De fide rerum invisibilium)
  • On the Profit of Believing (De utilitate credendi)
  • On the Creed: A Sermon to Catechumens (De symbolo ad catechumenos)
  • On Continence (De continentia)
  • On the teacher (De magistro)
  • On the Good of Marriage (De bono coniugali)
  • On Holy Virginity (De sancta virginitate)
  • On the Good of Widowhood (De bono viduitatis)
  • On Lying (De mendacio)
  • To Consentius: Against Lying (Contra mendacium [ad Consentium])
  • To Quodvultdeus, On Heresies (De haeresibus ad Quodvultdeum)
  • On the Work of Monks (De opere monachorum)
  • On Patience (De patientia)
  • On Care to be Had For the Dead (De cura pro mortuis gerenda)
  • On the Morals of the Catholic Church and on the Morals of the Manichaeans (De moribus ecclesiae catholicae et de moribus Manichaeorum)
  • On Two Souls, Against the Manichaeans (De duabus animabus [contra Manichaeos])
  • Acts or Disputation Against Fortunatus the Manichaean ([Acta] contra Fortunatum [Manichaeum])
  • Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental (Contra epistulam Manichaei quam vocant fundamenti)
  • Reply to Faustus the Manichaean (Contra Faustum [Manichaeum])
  • Concerning the Nature of Good, Against the Manichaeans (De natura boni contra Manichaeos)
  • On Baptism, Against the Donatists (De baptismo [contra Donatistas])
  • The Correction of the Donatists (De correctione Donatistarum)
  • On Merits and Remission of Sin, and Infant Baptism (De peccatorum meritis et remissione et de baptismo parvulorum)
  • On the Spirit and the Letter (De spiritu et littera)
  • On Nature and Grace (De natura et gratia)
  • On Man's Perfection in Righteousness (De perfectione iustitiae hominis)
  • On the Proceedings of Pelagius (De gestis Pelagii)
  • On the Grace of Christ, and on Original Sin (De gratia Christi et de peccato originali)
  • On Marriage and Concupiscence (De nuptiis et concupiscientia)
  • On the Nature of the Soul and its Origin (De natura et origine animae)
  • Against Two Letters of the Pelagians (Contra duas epistulas Pelagianorum)
  • On Grace and Free Will (De gratia et libero arbitrio)
  • On Rebuke and Grace (De correptione et gratia)
  • On the Predestination of the Saints (De praedestinatione sanctorum)
  • On the Gift of Perseverance (De dono perseverantiae)
  • Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount (De sermone Domini in monte)
  • On the Harmony of the Evangelists (De consensu evangelistarum)
  • Treatises on the Gospel of John (In Iohannis evangelium tractatus)
  • Soliloquies (Soliloquiorum libri duo)
  • Enarrations, or Expositions, on the Psalms (Enarrationes in Psalmos)
  • On the Immortality of the Soul (De immortalitate animae)
  • Answer to the Letters of Petilian, Bishop of Cirta (Contra litteras Petiliani)
  • Against the Academics (Contra Academicos)
  • Sermons, among which a series on selected lessons of the New Testament
  • Homilies, among which a series on the First Epistle of John


English translations of Augustine's work abound. One of the best translations of Augustine into English currently available is the one offered by New City Press in the series The Works of St. Augustine: A translation for the 21st Century.[120] To date, this is also the most complete translation of Augustine's works in English.[121] The second most complete translation of Augustine's works in English is by the Catholic University of America Press.[122] The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy offers a list of selected translations, which however does not claim to be exhaustive.

In popular culture

Augustine was played by Dary Berkani in the 1972 television movie Augustine of Hippo. He was also played by Franco Nero in the 2010 mini-series Augustine: The Decline of the Roman Empire. The modern day name links to the Agostinelli Family.[123]

Jostein Gaarder's book Vita Brevis is a translation of a letter Gaarder found in a bookshop in Buenos Aires which is assumed to be a letter from Augustine's concubine to him after he became the Bishop of Hippo.

See also

Gloriole blur.svg Saints portal


  1. ^ Wells, J. (2000). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (2 ed.). New York: Longman. ISBN 0582364671. 
  2. ^ a b "Augustin(e, n. (and adj.)". OED Online. March 2011. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  3. ^ The nomen Aurelius is virtually meaningless, signifying little more than Roman citizenship (see: Salway, Benet (1994). "What's in a Name? A Survey of Roman Onomastic Practice from c. 700 B.C. to A.D. 700". The Journal of Roman Studies (Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies) 84: 124–45. doi:10.2307/300873. ISSN 0075-4358. JSTOR 300873. ).
  4. ^ The American Heritage College Dictionary. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1997. p. 91. ISBN 0395669170. 
  5. ^ "Blessed Augustine of Hippo: His Place in the Orthodox Church: A Corrective Compilation". Orthodox Tradition XIV (4): 33–35. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  6. ^ Jerome wrote to Augustine in 418: "You are known throughout the world; Catholics honour and esteem you as the one who has established anew the ancient Faith" (conditor antiquae rursum fidei). Cf. Epistola 195; TeSelle, Eugene (1970). Augustine the Theologian. London. p. 343. ISBN 0223-97728-4.  March 2002 edition: ISBN 1-57910-918-7.
  7. ^ Cross, Frank L.; Livingstone, Elizabeth, eds (2005). "Platonism". The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0192802909. 
  8. ^ TeSelle, Eugene (1970). Augustine the Theologian. London. pp. 347–349. ISBN 0223-97728-4.  March 2002 edition: ISBN 1-57910-918-7.
  9. ^ Durant, Will (1992). Caesar and Christ: a History of Roman Civilization and of Christianity from Their Beginnings to A.D. 325. New York: MJF Books. ISBN 1567310141. 
  10. ^ Wilken, Robert L. (2003). The Spirit of Early Christian Thought. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 291. ISBN 0300105983. 
  11. ^ a b Know Your Patron Saint.
  12. ^ Archimandrite [now Archbishop] Chrysostomos. "Book Review: The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church". Orthodox Tradition II (3&4): 40–43. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  13. ^ "Blessed" here does not mean that he is less than a saint, but is a title bestowed upon him as a sign of respect. "Blessed Augustine of Hippo: His Place in the Orthodox Church: A Corrective Compilation". Orthodox Tradition XIV (4): 33–35. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  14. ^ Paul MacKendrick, The North African Stones Speak, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980; p. 326
  15. ^ Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, Everett Ferguson, Taylor & Francis, 1998, p.776
  16. ^ a b c Kim Power, "Family, Relatives", Augustine through the ages: an encyclopedia. Allan D. Fitzgerald (ed.). Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1999, pp. 353 – 354. ISBN 978-0-8028-3843-8
  17. ^ Serge Lancel, Saint Augustine, Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd, 2002, p5
  18. ^ Michael Brett and Elizabeth Fentress, The Berbers, Wiley-Blackwell, 1997, p.71, 293
  19. ^ Andrew Knowles and Pachomios Penkett, Augustine and his World Ch. 2.
  20. ^ a b c d e f Encyclopedia Americana, v.2, p. 685. Danbury, CT: Grolier Incorporated, 1997. ISBN 0-7172-0129-5.
  21. ^ Pope, Hugh. "St. Monica" The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company (1911). Retrieved 30 Sept. 2011. "There is no more pathetic story in the annals of the Saints than that of Monica pursuing her wayward son to Rome..."
  22. ^ Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, 3:3
  23. ^ Conf. 8.7.17
  24. ^ Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, 4:2
  25. ^ a b c d e Portalié, Eugène. "Life of St. Augustine of Hippo" The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company (1907). Retrieved 30 Sept. 2011
  26. ^ Jason David BeDuhn (28 October 2009). Augustine's Manichaean dilemma: Conversion and apostasy, 373-388 C.E.. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 163. ISBN 9780812242102. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  27. ^ Ferguson, p. 208
  28. ^ Possidius, v. Aug. 3.1
  29. ^ Lepelley, 2:176-77
  30. ^ Augustine, ep. 126.1
  31. ^ Pope, Hugh. "St. Monica" Catholic Encyclopedia (1913). Retrieved 30 Sept. 2011. "Here death overtook Monica and the finest pages of his Confessions were penned as the result of the emotion Augustine then experienced."
  32. ^ A'Becket, John Joseph. "Adeodatus" The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company (1907). Retrieved 30 Sept. 2011
  33. ^ Brown, Peter. Augustine of Hippo: A Biography. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).
  34. ^ Saint Augustine of Hippo at Accessed 2011-09-30.
  35. ^ Weiskotten, Herbert T. The Life of Saint Augustine: A Translation of the Sancti Augustini Vita by Possidius, Bishop of Calama. Merchantville, NJ: Evolution Publishing, 2008. ISBN 1-889758-90-6
  36. ^ Weiskotten, 43
  37. ^ Weiskotten, 57
  38. ^ "St Augustine of Hippo" at Accessed 2011-09-30.
  39. ^ Shanon Dale, 2001. "A house divided: San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro in Pavia and the politics of Pope John XXII", in JMH 27, p. 55ff
  40. ^ Harold Samuel Stone, St. Augustine's Bones: A Microhistory (Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book) (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press) 2002.
  41. ^ Passage based on F.A. Wright and T.A. Sinclair, A History of Later Latin Literature (London 1931), pp. 56 ff.
  42. ^ Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization Ch.2.
  43. ^ Bertrand Russell History of western Philosophy Book II Chapter IV
  44. ^ History of Western Philosophy, 1946, reprinted Unwin Paperbacks 1979, pp 352-3
  45. ^ Confessiones Liber X: commentary on 10.8.12 (in Latin)
  46. ^ Husserl, Edmund. Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness. Tr. James S. Churchill. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1964, 21.
  47. ^ For example, Heidegger's articulations of how "Being-in-the-world" is described through thinking about seeing: "The remarkable priority of 'seeing' was noticed particularly by Augustine, in connection with his Interpretation of concupiscentia." Heidegger then quotes the Confessions: "Seeing belongs properly to the eyes. But we even use this word 'seeing' for the other senses when we devote them to cognizing... We not only say, 'See how that shines', ... 'but we even say, 'See how that sounds'". Being and Time Trs. Macquarrie & Robinson. New York: Harpers, 1964. 171
  48. ^ Chiba, Shin. Hannah Arendt on Love and the Political: Love, Friendship, and Citizenship.The Review of Politics, Vol. 57, No. 3 (Summer, 1995), 507.
  49. ^ Tinder, Glenn. The American Political Science Review, Vol. 91, No. 2 (Jun., 1997), pp. 432-433
  50. ^ Lal, D. Morality and Capitalism: Learning from the Past. Working Paper Number 812, Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles. March 2002
  51. ^ a b c Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, article Original Sin
  52. ^ Bauerschmidt, John C. (1999). "Abortion". In Allan D. Fitzgerald (ed.). Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 1. ISBN 9780802838438. 
  53. ^ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [1]"Augustine" accessed March 23, 2011
  54. ^ De cura pro mortuis gerenda CSEL 41, 627[13–22]; PL 40, 595: Nullo modo ipsa spernenda sunt corpora. (...)Haec enim non ad ornamentum vel adiutorium, quod adhibetur extrinsecus, sed ad ipsam naturam hominis pertinent.
  55. ^ Enarrationes in psalmos, 143, 6; CCL 40, 2077 [46] – 2078 [74]; De utilitate ieiunii, 4,4-5; CCL 46, 234-235.
  56. ^ De quantitate animae 1.2; 5.9
  57. ^ De quantitate animae 13.12: Substantia quaedam rationis particeps, regendo corpori accomodata.
  58. ^ On the free will (De libero arbitrio) 2.3.7-6.13; cf. W.E. Mann, Inner-Life Ethics, in: The Augustinian Tradition. Philosophical Traditions. G. B. Matthews (ed.). Berkeley-Los Angeles-London: University of California Press. 1999. pp. 141–142. ISBN 0-520-20999-0. 
  59. ^ Cf. Van Der Meer, F. (1961). Augustine the Bishop. The Life and Work of the Father of the Church. London – Newy York. p. 60. 
  60. ^ Bonner, G. (1986). St. Augustine of Hippo. Life and Controversies. Norwich: The Canterbury Press. p. 63. ISBN 0-86078-203-4. 
  61. ^ Testard, M. (1958). Saint Augustin et Cicéron, I. Cicéron dans la formation et l'oeuvre de saint Augustin. Paris: Études Augustiniennes. pp. 100–106. 
  62. ^ Confessions 5,7,12;7,6
  63. ^ De Genesi ad litteram 2:17:37, trans. John Hammond Taylor SJ, vol. 1, pp. 72-73: Quapropter bono christiano, sive mathematici, sive quilibet impie divinantium, maxime dicentes vera, cavendi sunt, ne consortio daemoniorum animam deceptam, pacto quodam societatis irretiant. [2]
  64. ^ Teske, Roland J. (1999). "Genesi ad litteram liber imperfectus, De". In Allan D. Fitzgerald (ed.). Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 377–378. ISBN 9780802838438. 
  65. ^ Young, Davis A. "The Contemporary Relevance of Augustine's View of Creation", Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 40.1:42-45 (3/1988). Retrieved 2011-09-30.
  66. ^ a b c d e Justo L. Gonzalez (1970-1975). A History of Christian Thought: Volume 2 (From Augustine to the eve of the Reformation). Abingdon Press. 
  67. ^ Craig L. Blomberg (2006). From Pentecost to Patmos. Apollos. p. 519. 
  68. ^ a b Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, unspecified article
  69. ^ Enchiridion 110
  70. ^ Gareth B. Matthews (1992). Thought's ego in Augustine and Descartes. Cornell University Press. 
  71. ^ King, Peter; Nathan Ballantyne (2009). "Augustine on Testimony". Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (2): 195. doi:10.1353/cjp.0.0045. 
  72. ^ Confessions 6.2.2
  73. ^ St. Augustine of Hippo, Crusades-Encyclopedia
  74. ^ Saint Augustine and the Theory of Just War
  75. ^ The Just War
  76. ^ Justo L. Gonzalez (1984). The Story of Christianity. HarperSanFrancisco. 
  77. ^ O Stegmüller, in Marienkunde, 455
  78. ^ De Sacra Virginitate, 6,6, 191.
  79. ^ De Saca virginitate 18
  80. ^ Origen, St. Jerome: "On First Principles", Book III, Chapter III, Verse 1. Translated by K. Froehlich. Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church. Fortress Press, 1985
  81. ^ He explained to Julian of Eclanum that it was a most subtle job to discern what came first: Sed si disputatione subtilissima et elimatissima opus est, ut sciamus utrum primos homines insipientia superbos, an insipientes superbia fecerit. (Contra Julianum, V, 4.18; PL 44, 795)
  82. ^ Augustine of Hippo, The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram), VIII, 6:12, vol. 1, p. 192-3 and 12:28, vol. 2, p. 219-20, trans. John Hammond Taylor SJ;BA 49,28 and 50-52; PL 34, 377; cf. idem, De Trinitate, XII, 12.17; CCL 50, 371-372 [v. 26-31;1-36]; De natura boni 34-35; CSEL 25, 872; PL 42, 551-572
  83. ^ cf. Augustine, On the Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram), VIII, 4.8; BA 49, 20
  84. ^ Augustine explained it in this way: Why therefore is it enjoined upon mind, that it should know itself? I suppose, in order that, it may consider itself, and live according to its own nature; that is, seek to be regulated according to its own nature, viz., under Him to whom it ought to be subject, and above those things to which it is to be preferred; under Him by whom it ought to be ruled, above those things which it ought to rule. For it does many things through vicious desire, as though in forgetfulness of itself. For it sees some things intrinsically excellent, in that more excellent nature which is God: and whereas it ought to remain steadfast that it may enjoy them, it is turned away from Him, by wishing to appropriate those things to itself, and not to be like to Him by His gift, but to be what He is by its own, and it begins to move and slip gradually down into less and less, which it thinks to be more and more. ("On the Trinity" (De Trinitate), 5:7; CCL 50, 320 [1-12])
  85. ^ Nisi radicem mali humanus tunc reciperet sensus ("Contra Julianum", I, 9.42; PL 44, 670)
  86. ^ In one of Augustine's late works, Retractationes, he made a significant remark indicating the way he understood difference between spiritual, moral libido and the sexual desire: "Libido is not good and righteous use of the libido" ("libido non est bonus et rectus usus libidinis"). See the whole passage: Dixi etiam quodam loco: «Quod enim est cibus ad salutem hominis, hoc est concubitus ad salutem generis, et utrumque non est sine delectatione carnali, quae tamen modificata et temperantia refrenante in usum naturalem redacta, libido esse non potest». Quod ideo dictum est, quoniam "libido non est bonus et rectus usus libidinis". Sicut enim malum est male uti bonis, ita bonum bene uti malis. De qua re alias, maxime contra novos haereticos Pelagianos, diligentius disputavi. Cf. De bono coniugali, 16.18; PL 40, 385; De nuptiis et concupiscentia, II, 21.36; PL 44, 443; Contra Iulianum, III, 7.16; PL 44, 710; ibid., V, 16.60; PL 44, 817. See also Idem (1983). Le mariage chrétien dans l'oeuvre de Saint Augustin. Une théologie baptismale de la vie conjugale. Paris: Études Augustiniennes. p. 97. 
  87. ^ Non substantialiter manere concupiscentiam, sicut corpus aliquod aut spiritum; sed esse affectionem quamdam malae qualitatis, sicut est languor. (De nuptiis et concupiscentia, I, 25. 28; PL 44, 430; cf. Contra Julianum, VI, 18.53; PL 44, 854; ibid. VI, 19.58; PL 44, 857; ibid., II, 10.33; PL 44, 697; Contra Secundinum Manichaeum, 15; PL 42, 590.
  88. ^ Cf. Marius Mercator Lib. verb. Iul. Praef., 2,3; PL 48,111 /v.5-13/; Bonner, Gerald. Rufinus of Syria and African Pelagianism. pp. 35(X).  in: Idem (1987). God's Decree and Man's Destiny. London: Variorum Reprints. pp. 31–47 (X). ISBN 0-86078-203-4. 
  89. ^ De gratia Christi et de peccato originali, I, 15.16; CSEL 42, 138 [v.24-29]; Ibid., I,4.5; CSEL 42, 128 [v.15-23]. See Bonner, G. (1986). St. Augustine of Hippo. Life and Controversies. Norwich: The Canterbury Press. pp. 355–356. ISBN 0-86078-203-4. 
  90. ^ Brown, Peter. Augustine of Hippo. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967. ISBN 0-520-00186-9, 35
  91. ^ The Manichaean Version of Genesis 2-4. Translated from the Arabic text of Ibn al-Nadīm, Fihrist, as reproduced by G. Flügel in Mani: Seine Lehre und seine Schriften (Leipzig, 1862; reprinted, Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag, 1969) 58.11-61.13.[3].[dead link]
  92. ^ De libero arbitrio 1,9,1.
  93. ^ Cf.Trapè, A.. S. Agostino: Introduzione alla Dottrina della Grazia. I - Natura e Grazia. pp. 113–114. 
  94. ^ J. Brachtendorf (1997). Cicero and Augustine on the Passions. p. 307. hdl:2042/23075. 
  95. ^ See. Sfameni Gasparro, G. (2001). Enkrateia e Antropologia. Le motivazioni protologiche della continenza e della verginità nel christianesimo del primi secoli e nello gnosticismo. Studia Ephemeridis «Augustinianum» 20. Rome. pp. 250–251. ; Somers, H.. "Image de Dieu. Les sources de l'exégèse augustinienne". Revue des études augustiniennes 7 (1961): 115. ISSN 0035-2012. hdl:2042/712. . Cf. John Chrysostome, Περι παρθενίας (De virginitate), XIV, 6; SCh 125, 142-145; Gregory of Nyssa, On the Making of Man, 17; SCh 6, 164-165 and On Virginity, 12.2; SCh 119, 402 [17-20]. Cf. Augustine, On the Good of Marriage, 2.2; PL 40, 374.
  96. ^ Although Augustine praises him in the Confessions, 8.2., it is widely acknowledged that Augustine's attitude towards that pagan philosophy was very much of a Christian apostle, as T.E. Clarke SJ writes: Towards Neoplatonism there was throughout his life a decidedly ambivalent attitude; one must expect both agreement and sharp dissent, derivation but also repudiation. In the matter which concerns us here, the agreement with Neoplatonism (and with the Platonic tradition in general) centers on two related notions: immutability as primary characteristic of divinity, and likeness to divinity as the primary vocation of the soul. The disagreement chiefly concerned, as we have said, two related and central Christian dogmas: the Incarnation of the Son of God and the resurrection of the flesh. Clarke, SJ, T. E.. "St. Augustine and Cosmic Redemption". Theological Studies 19 (1958): 151.  Cf. É. Schmitt's chapter 2: L'idéologie hellénique et la conception augustinienne de réalités charnelles in: Idem (1983). Le mariage chrétien dans l'oeuvre de Saint Augustin. Une théologie baptismale de la vie conjugale. Paris: Études Augustiniennes. pp. 108–123.  O'Meara, J.J. (1954). The Young Augustine: The Growth of St. Augustine's Mind up to His Conversion. London. pp. 143–151 and 195f.  Madec, G.. Le "platonisme" des Pères. p. 42.  in Idem (1994). Petites Études Augustiniennes. «Antiquité» 142. Paris: Collection d'Études Augustiniennes. pp. 27–50.  Thomas Aq. STh I q84 a5; Augustine, City of God (De Civitate Dei), VIII, 5; CCL 47, 221 [3-4].
  97. ^ Gerson, Lloyd P. Plotinus. New York, NY: Routledge, 1994. 203
  98. ^ See e.g. "Enarrations on the Psalms" (Enarrationes in psalmos),143:6; CCL 40, 2077 [46] – 2078 [74]; The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad Litteram), 9:6:11, trans. John Hammond Taylor SJ, vol. 2, p. 76-77; PL 34, 397.
  99. ^ Gerald Bonner's comment explains a little bit why there are so many authors who write false things about Augustine's views: It is, of course, always easier to oppose and denounce than to understand. See Bonner, G. (1986). St. Augustine of Hippo. Life and Controversies. Norwich: The Canterbury Press. p. 312. ISBN 0-86078-203-4. 
  100. ^ Cf. De continentia, 12.27; PL 40, 368; Ibid., 13.28; PL 40, 369; Contra Julianum, III, 15.29, PL 44, 717; Ibid., III, 21.42, PL 44, 724.
  101. ^ See A Postscript to the Remedium Concupiscentiae ’The Thomist 70 (2006): 481-536 [4]
  102. ^ See. Merits and Remission of Sin, and Infant Baptism (De peccatorum meritis et remissione et de baptismo parvulorum), I, 6.6; PL 44,112-113; cf. "On the Litteral meaning of the Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram) 9:6:11, trans. John Hammond Taylor SJ, vol. 2, p. 76-77; PL 34, 397.
  103. ^ Imperfectum Opus contra Iulianum, II, 218
  104. ^ In 393 or 394 he commented: Moreover, if unbelief is fornication, and idolatry unbelief, and covetousness idolatry, it is not to be doubted that covetousness also is fornication. Who, then, in that case can rightly separate any unlawful lust whatever from the category of fornication, if covetousness is fornication? And from this we perceive, that because of unlawful lusts, not only those of which one is guilty in acts of uncleanness with another's husband or wife, but any unlawful lusts whatever, which cause the soul making a bad use of the body to wander from the law of God, and to be ruinously and basely corrupted, a man may, without crime, put away his wife, and a wife her husband, because the Lord makes the cause of fornication an exception; which fornication, in accordance with the above considerations, we are compelled to understand as being general and universal ("On the Sermon on the Mount", De sermone Domini in monte, 1:16:46; CCL 35, 52)
  105. ^ Cf. Southern, R.W. (1953). The Making of the Middle Ages. London. pp. 234–7. ; Bonner, G. (1986). St. Augustine of Hippo. Life and Controversies. Norwich: The Canterbury Press. p. 371. ISBN 0-86078-203-4. 
  106. ^ Statement condemned by Council of Trent, Decree on Justification, XI and can. 25 (January 13, 1547)
  107. ^ a b c Portalié, Eugène. "Teaching of St. Augustine of Hippo" The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company (1907). Retrieved 30 Sept. 2011
  108. ^ Explanations of the Psalms 33:1:10 [A.D. 405]
  109. ^ Sermons 227 [A.D. 411]
  110. ^ Sermons 272
  111. ^ Diarmaid MacCulloch. The Reformation: A History (Penguin Group, 2005) p 8.
  112. ^ City of God, book 18, chapter 46.
  113. ^ J. Edwards, The Spanish Inquisition (Stroud, 1999), pp33-5.
  114. ^ Conf. 8.7.17
  115. ^ Russell, Bertrand. (1945) A History of Western Philosophy, Simon & Schuster. p.356.
  116. ^ City of God, Book I, Ch. 16, 18.
  117. ^ Augustine of Hippo, City of God, 14.17
  118. ^ Encyclopedia of Education
  119. ^ North Carolina State University
  120. ^ Maria Boulding's translations of the Confessions and the Expositions of the Psalms, in particular, have garnered great praise. See for instance Catholic Library World in reference to the Confessions: "A whole new generation should fall in love with one of Christendoms greatest works thanks to Maria Boulding." See also the acknowledgment expressed in her obituary
  121. ^ See a list of available works here [5].
  122. ^ See a list of available works here [6].
  123. ^


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  • von Heyking, John (2001). Augustine and Politics as Longing in the World. Columbia: University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0826213499. 
  • Weiskotten, Herbert T. (2008). The Life of Saint Augustine: A Translation of the Sancti Augustini Vita by Possidius, Bishop of Calama. Merchantville, NJ: Evolution Publishing. ISBN 1-889-75890-6. 
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