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Augustine of Hippo
Portrait by Philippe de Champaigne, 17th century.
Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church
Born November 13, 354(354-11-13) in,
Thagaste, Numidia (now Souk Ahras, Algeria)
Died August 28, 430 (aged 75) in,
Hippo Regius, Numidia (now modern-day Annaba, Algeria)
Venerated in Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Anglican Communion
Major shrine San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, Pavia, Italy
Feast August 28 (Western Christianity)
June 15 (Eastern Christianity)
Attributes child; dove; pen; shell, pierced heart
Patronage brewers; printers; theologians
Bridgeport, Connecticut; Cagayan de Oro, Philippines; Ida, Philippines; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Saint Augustine, Florida; Superior, Wisconsin; Tucson, Arizona; Avilés, Spain
Tiffany Window of St Augustine - Lightner Museum.jpg
Part of a series on
St. Augustine of Hippo
Original sin · Divine grace · Invisible church · Time · Predestination · Infant baptism · Incurvatus in se · Allegorical interpretation · Amillennialism · Augustinian hypothesis · Just War
The City of God · Confessions · On Christian Doctrine · Enchiridion
Influences and Followers
Plotinus · St. Monica · Ambrose · Pelagius · Saint Possidius · Thomas Aquinas · Martin Luther · Cornelius Jansen
Neoplatonism · Pelagianism · Augustinians · Scholasticism · Jansenism

Augustine of Hippo (pronounced /ˈɔːɡəstiːn/ or /ɒˈɡʌstɨn/)[1] (Latin: Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis;)[2] (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430), Bishop of Hippo Regius, also known as Augustine or St. Austin,[3] was a Romanized Berber philosopher and theologian.

Augustine, a Latin church father, is one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity. He "established anew the ancient faith" (conditor antiquae rursum fidei), according to his contemporary, Jerome.[4] In his early years he was heavily influenced by Manichaeism and afterwards by the Neo-Platonism of Plotinus,[5] but after his conversion and baptism (387), he developed his own approach to philosophy and theology accommodating a variety of methods and different perspectives.[6] He believed that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom and framed the concepts of original sin and just war. When the Roman Empire in the West 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 City of Man.[7] His thought profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. Augustine's City of God was closely identified with the church, and was the community which worshipped God.[8]

Augustine was born in the city of Thagaste,[9] the present day Souk Ahras, Algeria, to a pagan father named Patricius and a Catholic mother named Monica. He was educated in North Africa and resisted his mother's pleas to become Christian. Living as a pagan intellectual, he took a concubine and became a Manichean. Later he converted to Christianity, became a bishop, and opposed heresies, such as the belief that people can have the ability to choose to be good to such a degree as to merit salvation without divine aid (Pelagianism).

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. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of Reformation teaching on salvation and divine grace. In the Eastern Orthodox Church he is blessed, and his feast day is celebrated on 15 June, though a minority are of the opinion that he is a heretic, primarily because of his statements concerning what became known as the filioque clause.[10] Among the Orthodox he is called Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed.[11]


Early childhood

Earliest portrait of Augustine, from the 6th century.

Augustine was of Berber descent.[12] He was born in 354 in Thagaste (present-day Souk Ahras, Algeria), a provincial Roman city in North Africa.[13] At the age of 11, Augustine was sent to school at Madaurus, a small Numidian city about 19 miles south of Thagaste noted for its pagan climate. There he became familiar with Latin literature, as well as pagan beliefs and practices.[14] In 369 and 370, he remained at home. During this period he read Cicero's dialogue Hortensius (now lost), which he described as leaving a lasting impression on him and sparking his interest in philosophy.[13]

Studying at Carthage

At age 17, through the generosity of a fellow citizen Romanianus,[13] he went to Carthage to continue his education in rhetoric. His mother, Monica,[15] was a Berber and a devout Christian, and his father, Patricius, a pagan. Although raised as a Christian, Augustine left the Church to follow the Manichaean religion, much to the despair of his mother. As a youth Augustine lived a hedonistic lifestyle for a time, associating with hooligans (Latin: euersores, literally meaning wreckers)[16] who boasted of their experience with the opposite sex and urged the inexperienced boys, like Augustine, to seek out experiences with women or to make up stories about experiences in order to gain acceptance and avoid ridicule.[16] At a young age, he developed a stable relationship with a young woman in Carthage, who would be his concubine for over thirteen years and who gave birth to his son, Adeodatus[17][18] (Milania).


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.[13] Disturbed by the unruly behaviour 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.

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

The young provincial won the job and headed north to take up his position in late 384. At age thirty, Augustine had won the most visible academic chair in the Latin world, at a time when such posts gave ready access to political careers. During this time, Augustine was a devout follower of Manichaeism.

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 a key exponent of Manichaean theology. 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.[13] 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.

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 fiancée 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 fiancée, but never renewed his relationship with "The One" and soon left his second concubine. 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).[19]

Christian conversion

In the summer of 386, after having read an account of the life of Saint Anthony of the Desert which greatly inspired him, Augustine underwent a profound personal crisis, which led 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. Key to this conversion was 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.

Augustine had heard a childlike voice singing from a nearby house. He paused to give thought to how and why such a child would sing those words and then left his garden and returned to his house. At his house he picked up a book written by the Apostle Paul Epistle to the Romans, and opened it and instantly read : (Romans 13: 13-14) "Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, in concupiscence."[20] He would detail his spiritual journey in his famous Confessions, which became a classic of both Christian theology and world literature. Ambrose baptized Augustine, along with his son, Adeodatus, on Easter Vigil in 387 in Milan, and soon thereafter in 388 he returned to Africa.[13] On his way back to Africa his mother died, as did his son soon after, leaving him alone in the world without family. This was a very difficult process for Augustine and he did not know how he would do on his own.


Upon his return to north Africa he 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.[13] 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.

In 395 he was made coadjutor bishop of Hippo (assistant with the right of succession on the death of the current bishop), and became full bishop shortly thereafter.[21] He remained in this position at Hippo until his death in 430. Augustine worked tirelessly in trying to convince the people of Hippo, who were a diverse racial and religious group, to convert to Christianity. He left his monastery, but continued to lead a monastic life in the episcopal residence. He left a rule (Latin, regula) for his monastery that has led him to be designated the "patron saint of regular clergy", that is, clergy who live by a monastic rule.

Much of Augustine's later life was recorded by his friend Possidius, bishop of Calama, 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 all 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.[22]

Teaching philosophy

Along with being a prominent figure in the religious spectrum, Augustine was also very influential 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.[23]Template:Full

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. In reality they were not genuine students of Hipparchus or Eratosthenes but common swindlers. Augustine himself was attracted by their books in his youth. He was particularly fascinated by those who claimed to foretell the future. It was at the time when for a period of nine years he continued his interest in Manichaeism. Astrology played a prominent part in Manichean doctrine.[24] Later as a bishop he used to warn, that one should avoid mathematicians who combine science and horoscopes:

The good Christian should beware of astrologers (Latine: mathematici) or anyone who ungodly practices divination - you should avoid them especially when they tell you true things, so that the fellowship of demons deceiving your mind may not confine you in the bonds of their company.[25]

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.[26]


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

Shortly before Augustine's death, Roman Africa was overrun by the Vandals, a warlike tribe with Arian sympathies. They had entered Africa at the instigation of Count Boniface, but soon turned to lawlessness, plundering private citizens and churches and killing many of the inhabitants.[27] The Vandals arrived in the spring of 430 to besiege Hippo and during that time, Augustine endured his final illness.

Possidius records that 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.[28]

Possidius also gives a first-hand account of Augustine's death, which occurred on August 28, 430, during the siege of Hippo by the Vandals. 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.[29] Shortly after his death, the Vandals raised 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.

Tradition indicates that Augustine's body was later moved to Pavia, where it is said to remain to this day.[13] Another tradition, however, claims that his remains were moved to Cagliari (Karalis) in a small chapel at the base of a hill, on the summit of which lies the sanctuary of Bonaria. The chapel bears an ancient, weathered stone plaque with an inscription leading to St.Augustine's remains.


Aurelius Augustinus

Augustine as depicted by Sandro Botticelli (c. 1480)
Full name Aurelius Augustinus
Era Ancient philosophy/Medieval philosophy
Region Western Philosophers
School Platonism, Neoplatonism, Christian philosophy, Stoicism

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.[30] 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," answering 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.[31] 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.[32] 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 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. 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.

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."[33] 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 [34] 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."[35] Martin Heidegger refers to Augustine's descriptive philosophy at several junctures in his influential work, Being and Time.[36] 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."[37] 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 glamourously 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]."[38] 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.[39]

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.[40]

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).[40]


Natural knowledge and biblical interpretation

Augustine took the view that the Biblical text should not be interpreted literally if it contradicts what we know from science and our God-given reason. 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.[41]


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. 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. [1]

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].

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.[42] Self-centeredness made Adam and Eve fail to acknowledge and respect the world as it was created by God, with its hierarchy of beings and values.[43] 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).[44] Their nature was wounded by concupiscence or libido, which affected human intelligence and will, as well as affections and desires, including sexual desire.[45] In terms of Metaphysics, concupiscence is not a being but bad quality, the privation of good or a wound.[46]

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[47], who had been inspired by Rufinus of Syria, a disciple of Theodore of Mopsuestia.[48] 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.[49] 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,[50] who taught that the original sin was carnal knowledge[51] This allowed Augustine, after his conversion, to find narrow path in between of the manichean and pelagian positions.

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.[52] It is clear that the reason of Augusine's distance towards the affairs of the flesh was different than that of Plotinus, a neo-Platonist[53] who taught that only through disdain for fleshly desire could one reach the ultimate state of mankind.[54] Augustine taught the redemption, i.e. transformation and purification, of the body in the resurrection.[55]

Some authors perceive Augustine's doctrine as directed against human sexuality and attribute his insistence on continence and devotion to God as coming from his need to reject his highly sensual nature[who?]. But in view of his writings it is apparently a misunderstanding.[56] 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 realised 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.[57] The redemption of human sexuality will be, however, fully accomplished only in the resurrection of the body.[58]

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, which he regarded as the passion of both, soul and body,[59] 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 properely interpreting concupiscence as something more than mere sexual lust, with which some Augustine's disciples had defined it.,[60] as later did Luther and Calvin, a doctrine condemned in 1567 by Pope Pius V.[40] Lutheran and Calvinist teachings have never been regarded as accurate interpretation of the Augustinian doctrine of the consequences of the fall on human nature.[61] They insist that, according to Augustine, human beings are utterly depraved in nature. We 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.[62] Augustine's doctrine about the liberum arbitrium or free will and its inability to respond to the will of God without divine grace is mistakenely interpreted in terms of Predestination: grace is irresistible, results in conversion, and leads to perseverance.[47] Calvinist's 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.[47] 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.[63] He often said that any can be saved if they wish.[63] 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.[63]


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.[47]

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.[47]

In addition, he believed in papal supremacy.[64]

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.[47]

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 changed his mind during his lifetime, causing some confusion among later theologians about his position. In 395, he said in one of his sermons:

"God does not remit sins but to the baptized".[65]

This belief was shared and followed by many Christians in the early Catholic Church, until in the 12th century pope Innocent III accepted the doctrine of limbo as promulgated by Peter Abelard. It was the place where the unbaptized went and suffered no pain but, as the Church maintained, being still in a state of original sin, they did not deserve Paradise, therefore they did not know happiness either.

Later however, Augustine wrote in his City of God (which he completed in 426):

"For whatever unbaptized persons die confessing Christ, this confession is of the same efficacy for the remission of sins as if they were washed in the sacred font of baptism."[66]

Since small children cannot really confess, it is not clear from this passage if babies who die before baptism could be saved according to Augustine. A passage from another chapter of this book, concerning the Apocalypse, may indicate that Augustine did believe this 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."[67]

The Eastern Orthodox position differs from Augustine's position in that they do not believe that Original Sin carries over the guilt of Original Sin (which only Adam himself is guilty of) but only the consequences of Original Sin. Therefore, they also disagree with Augustine's early belief that unbaptized infants will go to hell or to even a state of limbo as advocated by Anselm. The same can be said for Unitarians, who never accepted the doctrine of Original Sin.[68] Most later forms of Christianity, including many Protestant movements, do not see baptism as an absolute requirement for salvation, although most believe in Original Sin.


Augustine did not develop an independent mariology, but his statements on Mary surpass in number and depths those of other early writers.[69] The Virgin Mary “conceived as virgin, gave birth as virgin and stayed virgin forever”[70] 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.[71] She was free of any temporal sin.[72]


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.[73] 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,[74][75] 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.[74]

Just war

Augustine developed a theology of just war, that is, war that is acceptable under certain conditions. 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]

Views on lust

Augustine struggled with lust throughout his life. He associated sexual desire with the sin of Adam, and believed that it was still sinful, even though the Fall has made it part of human nature.

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.'"[77] 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."[63]

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[78]

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.

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,[79] and he considered the scattering of Jews by the Roman Empire to be a fulfillment of prophecy.[80]

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.[81]

Abortion and ensoulment

Like other Church Fathers, St Augustine "vigorously condemned the practice of induced abortion".[82] In his works, Augustine did consider that the gravity of participation in an abortion depended whether or not the fetus had yet received a soul.This occurred at 40 days for males, and 80 for females.[82]

Works (books, letters and sermons)

  • On Christian Doctrine (Latin: De doctrina Christiana, 397-426)
  • Confessions (Confessiones, 397-398)
  • 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 in a work titled the Retractions (in Latin, "Retractationes"). 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])
  • 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)
  • Sermons, among which a series on selected lessons of the New Testament
  • Homilies, among which a series on the First Epistle of John

See also

Gloriole.svg Saints portal


  1. Wells, J. (2000). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (2 ed.). New York: Longman. ISBN 0582364671. 
  2. 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 00754358. ).
  3. The American Heritage College Dictionary. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1997. p. 91. ISBN 0395669170. 
  4. 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. Cf. Epistola 195; TeSelle, Eugene (1970). Augustine the Theologian. London. pp. 343. ISBN 0223-97728-4.  March 2002 edition: ISBN 1579109187 .
  5. Cross, Frank L. and Livingstone, Elizabeth, ed (2005). "Platonism". The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0192802909. 
  6. E. TeSelle gives a list of disciplines and methods that are now practiced in isolation, which Augustine utilized concurrently: natural philosophy, critical philosophy, phenomenology of finite spirit, rational theology, doctrinal theology or a theology of the history of salvation, speculative theology or Glaubenslehre, anagogical or mystical theology, ethics, ecclesiology, theology of culture, politics, logic, rethoric, cf. TeSelle, Eugene (1970). Augustine the Theologian. London. pp. 347–349. ISBN 0223-97728-4.  March 2002 edition: ISBN 1579109187.
  7. 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. 
  8. Wilken, Robert L. (2003). The Spirit of Early Christian Thought. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 291. ISBN 0300105983. 
  9.  "Thagaste". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  10. 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. 
  11. "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. 
  12. (a) Encyclopedia Americana, Scholastic Library Publishing, 2005, v.3, p.569 (b) Norman Cantor. The Civilization of the Middle Ages, A Completely Revised and Expanded Edition of Medieval History, Harper Perennial, 1994, p.74. ISBN 0-06-092553-1 (c) Étienne Gilson, Le philosophe et la théologie (1960), Vrin, 2005, p.175 (d) Gilbert Meynier, L'Algérie des origines, La Découverte, 2007, p.73, ISBN 2-7071-5088-6 (e) Grand Larousse encyclopédique, Librairie Larousse, 1960, t.1, p.144 (f) American University, Area Handbook for Algeria, Government printing office, 1965, p.10 (g) Fernand Braudel, Grammaire des civilisations (1963), Flammarion, 2008, p.453, etc
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 Encyclopedia Americana, v.2, p. 685. Danbury, CT: Grolier Incorporated, 1997. ISBN 0-7172-0129-5.
  14. Andrew Knowles and Pachomios Penkett, Augustine and his World Ch.2.
  15. Monica was a Berber name derived from the Libyan deity Mon worshiped in the neighbouring town of Thibilis. However, no information is available on the ethnicity of her husband.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, 3:3
  17. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, 4:2
  18. According to J.Fersuson and Garry Wills, Adeodatus, the name of Augustine's son is a Latinization of the Berber name Iatanbaal (given by God).
  19. Conf. 8.7.17
  20. " legi in silentio capitulum quo primum coniecti sunt oculi mei: non in comessationibus et ebrietatibus, non in cubilibus et impudicitiis, non in contentione et aemulatione, sed induite dominum Iesum Christum et carnis providentiam ne feceritis in concupiscentiis." Confessiones 8.12.29
  21. Brown, Peter. Augustine of Hippo: A Biography. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).
  22. 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
  23. Encyclopedia of Education
  24. Cf. Van Der Meer, F. (1961). Augustine the Bishop. The Life and Work of the Father of the Church. London – Newy York. pp. 60. ; Bonner, G. (1986). St. Augustine of Hippo. Life and Controversies. Norwich: The Canterbury Press. p. 63. ISBN 0-86078-203-4. ; Testard, M. (1958). Saint Augustin et Cicéron, I. Cicéron dans la formation et l'oeuvre de saint Augustin. Paris: Études Augustiniennes. pp. 100–106. ; Confessions 5,7,12;7,6
  25. Augustine of Hippo, The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram) 2:18:37: Quapropter bono christiano, sive mathematici, sive quilibet impie divinantium, maxime dicentes vera, cavendi sunt, ne consortio daemoniorum animam deceptam, pacto quodam societatis irretiant; private translation).
  26. North Carolina State University
  27. Weiskotten, 40
  28. Weiskotten, 43
  29. Weiskotten, 57
  30. Passage based on F.A. Wright and T.A. Sinclair, A History of Later Latin Literature (London 1931), pp. 56 ff.
  31. Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization Ch.2.
  32. Bertrand Russell History of western Philosophy Book II Chapter IV
  33. History of Western Philosophy, 1946, reprinted Unwin Paperbacks 1979, pp 352-3
  34. Confessiones Liber X: commentary on 10.8.12 (in Latin)
  35. Husserl, Edmund. Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness. Tr. James S. Churchill. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1964, 21.
  36. 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
  37. Chiba, Shin. Hannah Arendt on Love and the Political: Love, Friendship, and Citizenship.The Review of Politics, Vol. 57, No. 3 (Summer, 1995), 507.
  38. Tinder, Glenn. The American Political Science Review, Vol. 91, No. 2 (Jun., 1997), pp. 432-433
  39. Lal, D. Morality and Capitalism: Learning from the Past. Working Paper Number 812, Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles. March 2002
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, article Original Sin Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Oxford:Original" defined multiple times with different content
  41. 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
  42. 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)
  43. 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])
  44. Nisi radicem mali humanus tunc reciperet sensus („Contra Julianum”, I, 9.42; PL 44, 670)
  45. 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. 
  46. 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.
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 47.3 47.4 47.5 Justo L. Gonzalez (1970-1975). A History of Christian Thought: Volume 2 (From Augustine to the eve of the Reformation). Abingdon Press. 
  48. 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. 
  49. 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. p. 355–356. ISBN 0-86078-203-4. 
  50. Brown, Peter. Augustine of Hippo. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967. ISBN 0-520-00186-9, 35
  51. Manichaean Version of Genesis 2-4, the. Translated from the Arabic text of Ibn al-Nadīm, Fihrist, as reproduced by G. Flügel, Mani: Seine Lehre und seine Schriften (Leipzig, 1862; reprinted, Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag, 1969) 58.11-61.13. 10 December 2006 (
  52. 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. p. 250–251. ; Somers, H.. "Image de Dieu. Les sources de l'exégèse augustinienne". Revue des études augustiniennes 7 (1961): 115. ISSN 0035-2012. . 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.
  53. 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. p. 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. pp. 27–50.  Thomas Aq. STh I q84 a5; Augustine, City of God (De Civitate Dei), VIII, 5; CCL 47, 221 [3-4].
  54. Gerson, Lloyd P. Plotinus. New York, NY: Routledge, 1994. 203
  55. See e.g. "Enarrations on the Psalms" (Enarrationes in psalmos),143:6; CCL 40, 2077 [46] – 2078 [74]; Litteral meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad Litteram), 9:6:11; PL 34, 397
  56. 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. 
  57. 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.
  58. 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; PL 34, 397;
  59. In 393/394 he comments: 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)
  60. 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. 
  61. Bonner, G. (1986). St. Augustine of Hippo. Life and Controversies. Norwich: The Canterbury Press. p. 312–313. ISBN 0-86078-203-4. 
  62. Statement condemned by Council of Trent, Decree on Justification, XI and can. 25 (January 13, 1547)
  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 63.3 Catholic Encyclopedia (1914) Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "multiple" defined multiple times with different content
  64. "Carthage was also near the countries over the sea, and distinguished by illustrious renown, so that it had a bishop of more than ordinary influence, who could afford to disregard a number of conspiring enemies because he saw himself joined by letters of communion to the Roman Church, in which the supremacy of an apostolic chair has always flourished" Letter 43 Chapter 9
  65. A Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed paragraph 16, by Augustine of Hippo
  66. City of God, book 13, ch. 7 by Augustine of Hippo
  67. City of God, book 20, ch. 8 by Augustine of Hippo
  68. Unitarian South Africa's website
  69. O Stegmüller, in Marienkunde, 455
  70. De Saca virginitate 18
  71. De Sacra Virginitate, 6,6, 191.
  72. Theologians disagree as to whether Augustine considered Mary free of original sin as well. Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventura Hugo Rahner against Henry Newman and others
  73. Craig L. Blomberg (2006). From Pentecost to Patmos. Apollos. pp. 519. 
  74. 74.0 74.1 Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, unspecified article
  75. Enchiridion 110
  76. Justo L. Gonzalez (1984). The Story of Christianity. HarperSanFrancisco. 
  77. Conf. 8.7.17
  78. Augustine of Hippo, City of God, 14.17
  79. Diarmaid MacCulloch. The Reformation: A History (Penguin Group, 2005) p 8.
  80. City of God, book 18, chapter 46.
  81. J. Edwards, The Spanish Inquisition (Stroud, 1999), pp33-5.
  82. 82.0 82.1 Fitzgerald, 1


  • Magee, Bryan (1998). The Story of Thought. London: The Quality Paperback Bookclub. ISBN 0789444550. 
  • Magee, Bryan (1998). The Story of Philosophy: The Essential Guide to the History of Western Philosophy. New York: DK Pub. ISBN 078947994X. 
g Saint Augustine, pages 30, 144; City of God 51, 52, 53 and The Confessions 50, 51, 52


  • Augustine of Hippo (2002). Henry William Griffen. ed. Sermons to the People: Advent, Christmas, New year, Epiphany. New York: Image Books/Doubleday. ISBN 9780385503112. 

External links

Works by Augustine
Biography and criticism

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