Augustine of Hippo: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Augustine of Hippo

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Augustine, Augustinus and Saint Augustine.
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 · Order of Saint Augustine

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, St. 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 Earthly City.[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, with whom he had a son, Adeodatus, and became a Manichean. Later he converted to Catholicism, 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, although Augustine showed some fervor for Manichaeism, he was never an initiate or "elect" but remained an "auditor", the lowest level in that sect's hierarchy.[19]

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.[19] 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 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 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).[20]

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."[21] 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] Also in 388 he completed his apology "On the Holiness of the Catholic Church".[19] 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.[22] 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.[23]

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.[24][Full citation needed]

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.[25] 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 /{{{2}}}: 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.[26]

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.[27]


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.[28] 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.[29]

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.[30] 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.



Augustine as depicted by Sandro Botticelli (c. 1480)
Full name 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.[31] 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.[32] 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.[33] 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[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.[citation needed]

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."[34] 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 [35] 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."[36] Martin Heidegger refers to Augustine's descriptive philosophy at several junctures in his influential work, Being and Time.[37] 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."[38] 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]."[39] 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.[40]

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.[41]

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).[41]


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.[42]


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.[43] 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).[44] The tree was a symbol of the order of creation.[45] 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.[46] 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).[47] Their nature was wounded by concupiscence or libido, which affected human intelligence and will, as well as affections and desires, including sexual desire.[48] In terms of Metaphysics, concupiscence is not a being but bad quality, the privation of good or a wound.[49]

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[50], who had been inspired by Rufinus of Syria, a disciple of Theodore of Mopsuestia.[51] 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.[52] 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,[53] who taught that the original sin was carnal knowledge[54] 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.[55] 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[56] who taught that only through disdain for fleshly desire could one reach the ultimate state of mankind.[57] Augustine taught the redemption, i.e. transformation and purification, of the body in the resurrection.[58]

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. But in view of his writings it is apparently a misunderstanding.[59] 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.[60] The redemption of human sexuality will be, however, fully accomplished only in the resurrection of the body.[61]

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[citation needed], which he regarded as the passion of both, soul and body,[62] 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.,[63] as later did Luther and Calvin, a doctrine condemned in 1567 by Pope Pius V.[41] Lutheran and Calvinist teachings have never been regarded as accurate interpretation of the Augustinian doctrine of the consequences of the fall on human nature.[64] 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.[65] 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.[50] 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.[50] 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.[66] He often said that any can be saved if they wish.[66] 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.[66]


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.[50]

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.[50]

In addition, he believed in papal supremacy.[67]

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.[50]

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".[68]

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[citation needed]. 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."[69]

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."[70]

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.[citation needed] The same can be said for Unitarians, who never accepted the doctrine of Original Sin.[71] 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.[72] The Virgin Mary “conceived as virgin, gave birth as virgin and stayed virgin forever”[73] 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.[74] She was free of any temporal sin.[75]


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.[76] 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,[77][78] 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.[77]

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.[79]

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.'"[80] 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."[66]

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[81]

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,[82] and he considered the scattering of Jews by the Roman Empire to be a fulfillment of prophecy.[83]

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.[84]

Abortion and ensoulment

Like other Church Fathers, St Augustine "vigorously condemned the practice of induced abortion" as a crime, in any stage of pregnancy.[85] 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. According to his beliefs, this occurred at 40 days for males, and 80 for females.[85]

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


  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. ^ a b c d e f g h 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. ^ a b 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. ^ a b c Catholic Encyclopedia St. Augustine of Hippo, 1913
  20. ^ Conf. 8.7.17
  21. ^ " 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
  22. ^ Brown, Peter. Augustine of Hippo: A Biography. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ Encyclopedia of Education
  25. ^ 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
  26. ^ 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).
  27. ^ North Carolina State University
  28. ^ Weiskotten, 40
  29. ^ Weiskotten, 43
  30. ^ Weiskotten, 57
  31. ^ Passage based on F.A. Wright and T.A. Sinclair, A History of Later Latin Literature (London 1931), pp. 56 ff.
  32. ^ Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization Ch.2.
  33. ^ Bertrand Russell History of western Philosophy Book II Chapter IV
  34. ^ History of Western Philosophy, 1946, reprinted Unwin Paperbacks 1979, pp 352-3
  35. ^ Confessiones Liber X: commentary on 10.8.12 (in Latin)
  36. ^ Husserl, Edmund. Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness. Tr. James S. Churchill. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1964, 21.
  37. ^ 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
  38. ^ Chiba, Shin. Hannah Arendt on Love and the Political: Love, Friendship, and Citizenship.The Review of Politics, Vol. 57, No. 3 (Summer, 1995), 507.
  39. ^ Tinder, Glenn. The American Political Science Review, Vol. 91, No. 2 (Jun., 1997), pp. 432-433
  40. ^ Lal, D. Morality and Capitalism: Learning from the Past. Working Paper Number 812, Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles. March 2002
  41. ^ a b c Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, article Original Sin
  42. ^ 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
  43. ^ 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)
  44. ^ Augustine of Hippo, On the Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram), VIII, 6.12 and 13.28, 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
  45. ^ cf. Augustine, On the Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram), VIII, 4.8; BA 49, 20
  46. ^ 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])
  47. ^ Nisi radicem mali humanus tunc reciperet sensus ("Contra Julianum", I, 9.42; PL 44, 670)
  48. ^ 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. 
  49. ^ 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.
  50. ^ a b c d e f Justo L. Gonzalez (1970-1975). A History of Christian Thought: Volume 2 (From Augustine to the eve of the Reformation). Abingdon Press. 
  51. ^ 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. 
  52. ^ 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. 
  53. ^ Brown, Peter. Augustine of Hippo. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967. ISBN 0-520-00186-9, 35
  54. ^ 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 (
  55. ^ 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. . 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.
  56. ^ 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].
  57. ^ Gerson, Lloyd P. Plotinus. New York, NY: Routledge, 1994. 203
  58. ^ 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
  59. ^ 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. 
  60. ^ 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.
  61. ^ 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;
  62. ^ 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)
  63. ^ 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. 
  64. ^ Bonner, G. (1986). St. Augustine of Hippo. Life and Controversies. Norwich: The Canterbury Press. pp. 312–313. ISBN 0-86078-203-4. 
  65. ^ Statement condemned by Council of Trent, Decree on Justification, XI and can. 25 (January 13, 1547)
  66. ^ a b c d Catholic Encyclopedia (1914) Teaching of St. Augustine of Hippo
  67. ^ "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
  68. ^ A Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed paragraph 16, by Augustine of Hippo
  69. ^ City of God, book 13, ch. 7 by Augustine of Hippo
  70. ^ City of God, book 20, ch. 8 by Augustine of Hippo
  71. ^ Unitarian South Africa's website
  72. ^ O Stegmüller, in Marienkunde, 455
  73. ^ De Saca virginitate 18
  74. ^ De Sacra Virginitate, 6,6, 191.
  75. ^ 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
  76. ^ Craig L. Blomberg (2006). From Pentecost to Patmos. Apollos. pp. 519. 
  77. ^ a b Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, unspecified article
  78. ^ Enchiridion 110
  79. ^ Justo L. Gonzalez (1984). The Story of Christianity. HarperSanFrancisco. 
  80. ^ Conf. 8.7.17
  81. ^ Augustine of Hippo, City of God, 14.17
  82. ^ Diarmaid MacCulloch. The Reformation: A History (Penguin Group, 2005) p 8.
  83. ^ City of God, book 18, chapter 46.
  84. ^ J. Edwards, The Spanish Inquisition (Stroud, 1999), pp33-5.
  85. ^ a b Fitzgerald, 1


  • Burnaby, John. Amor Dei. The Canterbury Press Norwich. ISBN 1853110221. 
  • 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
  • Nelson, John Charles (1973). "Platonism in the Renaissance". in Wiener, Philip. Dictionary of the History of Ideas. 3. New York: Scribner. pp. 510–15 (vol. 3). ISBN 0684132931.; "(...) Saint Augustine asserted that Neo-Platonism possessed all spiritual truths except that of the Incarnation. (...) " 
  • Brown, Peter (1967). Augustine of Hippo. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-00186-9. 
  • Matthews, Gareth B. (2005). Augustine. Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-23348-2. 
  • O'donnell, James (2005). Augustine: A New Biography. New York: ECCO. ISBN 0060535377. 
  • Ruickbie, Leo (2004). Witchcraft out of the Shadows. London: Robert Hale. pp. 57–8. ISBN 0709075677. 
  • Tanquerey, Adolphe (2001). The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology. Rockford, IL: Tan Books & Publishers. pp. 37). ISBN 0895556596. 
  • von Heyking, John (2001). Augustine and Politics as Longing in the World. Columbia: University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0826213499. 
  • Lubin, Augustino (1659). Orbis Augustinianus sive conventuum ordinis eremitarum Sancti Augustini - chorographica et topographica descriptio. Paris. 
  • Pollman, Karla (2007). Saint Augustine the Algerian. Göttingen: Edition Ruprecht. ISBN 3897442094. 
  • Règle de St. Augustin pour les religieuses de son ordre; et Constitutions de la Congrégation des Religieuses du Verbe-Incarné et du Saint-Sacrament (Lyon: Chez Pierre Guillimin, 1662), pp. 28–29. Cf. later edition published at Lyon (Chez Briday, Libraire,1962), pp. 22–24. English edition, (New York: Schwartz, Kirwin, and Fauss, 1893), pp. 33–35.
  • Zumkeller O.S.A., Adolar (1986). Augustine's Ideal of the Religious Life. New York: Fordham University Press. ISBN 0823211053. 
  • Zumkeller O.S.A., Adolar (1987). Augustine's Rule. Villanova: Augustinian Press. ISBN 0941491064. 
  • Pottier, René (2006) (in French). Saint Augustin le Berbère. Fernand Lanore. ISBN 2851572822. 
  • Fitzgerald, Allan D., O.S.A., General Editor (1999). Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. ISBN 0-8028-3843-X. 
  • Plumer, Eric Antone, (2003). Augustine's Commentary on Galatians. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-199-24439-1. 
  • 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. 
  • Pagels, Elaine Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity Vintage Books (Sep 19 1989) ISBN: 0679722327


  • 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


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Once for all, then, a short precept is given thee: Love, and do what thou wilt...
When I am here, I do not fast on Saturday; when at Rome, I do...

St. Augustine of Hippo (13 November 35420 August 430) also known as Aurelius Augustine, Blessed Augustine and St. Augustine the Blessed, was a Christian theologian, rhetor, North African bishop, Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church, saint, and a philosopher heavily influenced in his early years by Manichaeism and the Neo-Platonism of Plotinus.



The spiritual virtue of a sacrament is like light, — although it passes among the impure, it is not polluted.
To wisdom belongs the intellectual apprehension of things eternal; to knowledge, the rational apprehension of things temporal.
  • When I am here, I do not fast on Saturday; when at Rome, I do fast on Saturday.
    • Epistle 36, to Casulanus, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
    • May be related to:
      • When they are at Rome, they do there as they see done.
        • Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, Part iii, Section 4, Membrane 2, Subsection 1.
  • Spiritalis enim virtus sacramenti ita est ut lux: etsi per immundos transeat, non inquinatur.
    • The spiritual virtue of a sacrament is like light, — although it passes among the impure, it is not polluted.
      • Works, Vol. iii. In Johannis Evangelum, c. tr. 5, Section 15, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
    • May be related to:
      • The sun, which passeth through pollutions and itself remains as pure as before.
      • The sun, too, shines into cesspools and is not polluted.
  • To wisdom belongs the intellectual apprehension of things eternal; to knowledge, the rational apprehension of things temporal.
    • As quoted in The Anchor Book of Latin Quotations : with English translations‎ (1990) by Norbert Guterman, p. 375
  • Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.
    • As quoted in The Wisdom of the Heart : A Celebration of Timeless Lessons About Love‎ (1997) by Criswell Freeman

Confessiones (c. 397)

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.
  • The weakness of little children's limbs is innocent, not their souls.
    • I, 7
  • Nos fecisti ad te et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te.
    • You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.
    • I, 1
  • I became evil for no reason. I had no motive for my wickedness except wickedness itself. It was foul, and I loved it. I loved the self-destruction, I loved my fall, not the object for which I had fallen but my fall itself. My depraved soul leaped down from your firmament to ruin. I was seeking not to gain anything by shameful means, but shame for its own sake.
    • II, 4
  • Already I had learned from thee that because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true; nor because it is uttered with stammering lips should it be supposed false. Nor, again, is it necessarily true because rudely uttered, nor untrue because the language is brilliant. Wisdom and folly both are like meats that are wholesome and unwholesome, and courtly or simple words are like town-made or rustic vessels — both kinds of food may be served in either kind of dish.
    • V, 6
    • Variation on the middle sentence: A thing is not necessarily true because badly uttered, nor false because spoken magnificently.
    • Variation on the middle sentence: A thing is not necessarily false because it is badly expressed, nor true because it is expressed magnificently.
  • At ego adulescens miser ualde, miser in exordio ipsius adulescentiae, etiam petieram a te castitatem et dixeram, 'Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo.'
    • As a youth I prayed, "Give me chastity and continence, but not yet."
    • VIII, 7
  • Tolle lege, tolle lege
    • Take up and read, take up and read
    • VIII, 12
  • Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient and ever new! Late have I loved you! And, behold, you were within me, and I out of myself, and there I searched for you.
    • X, 27, as translated in Theology and Discovery : Essays in honor of Karl Rahner, S.J. (1980) edited by William J. Kelly
    • Variant translations:
    • So late I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient and ever new! So late I loved you!
      • The Ethics of Modernism : Moral Ideas in Yeats, Eliot, Joyce, Woolf, and Beckett‎ (2007), by Lee Oser, p. 29
    • Too late I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient and ever new! Too late I loved you! And, behold, you were within me, and I out of myself, and there I searched for you.
      • Introduction to a Philosophy of Religion (1970) by Alice Von Hildebrand
  • Da quod iubes, et iube quod vis
    • Give what you command, and command what you will. You impose continency on us.
    • X, 29
  • There is another form of temptation, more complex in its peril. … It originates in an appetite for knowledge. … From this malady of curiosity are all those strange sights exhibited in the theatre. Hence do we proceed to search out the secret powers of nature (which is beside our end), which to know profits not, and wherein men desire nothing but to know.
  • What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.
  • You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours.

City of God (early 400s)

The good man, though a slave, is free; the wicked, though he reigns, is a slave...
  • Thus, in this universal catastrophe, the sufferings of Christians have tended to their moral improvement, because they viewed them with eyes of faith.
    • I, 9
  • Virtue and vice are not the same, even if they undergo the same torment.
    • I, 8
  • The violence which assails good men to test them, to cleanse and purify them, effects in the wicked their condemnation, ruin, and annihilation.
    • I, 8
  • The good man, though a slave, is free; the wicked, though he reigns, is a slave, and not the slave of a single man, but — what is worse — the slave of as many masters as he has vices.
    • IV, 3
  • What are kingdoms but large-scale terrorist gangs? ... There was truth as well as neatness in what the captured pirate said to Alexander the Great when Alexander asked him what business he had to infest the sea, and he defiantly replied: "The same as you have to infest the world. Because I do it with one small ship, I am called a terrorist. You do it with a whole fleet and are called an emperor."
    • IV, 4, as quoted in Augustine (1989) by Christopher Kirwan

De Genesi ad Litteram

  • Quapropter bono christiano, sive mathematici, sive quilibet impie divinantium, maxime dicentes vera, cavendi sunt, ne consortio daemoniorum animam deceptam, pacto quodam societatis irretiant.
    • II, xvii, 37
    • Translation published in Mathematics in Western Culture (1953): The good Christian should beware the mathematician and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of hell.
    • Modern translation by J.H. Taylor in Ancient Christian Writers (1982): Hence, a devout Christian must avoid astrologers and all impious soothsayers, especially when they tell the truth, for fear of leading his soul into error by consorting with demons and entangling himself with the bonds of such association.
    • Note: The well known, but incorrect English translation was published on page 3 of Morris Kline's Mathematics in Western Culture (1953). This book is a favorite with math students and is still in print. The Latin word mathematici derives from the Greek meaning of "something learned" and refers mainly to astrologers. This was the chief branch of mathematics at the time but has been replaced in modern times by a plethora of other branches. According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, the word "mathematician" still meant astrologer as late as 1710.
  • In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it."
    • I, xxxxi. Modern translation by J.H. Taylor
  • Plerumque enim accidit ut aliquid de terra, de coelo, de caeteris mundi huius elementis, de motu et conversione vel etiam magnitudine et intervallis siderum, de certis defectibus solis ac lunae, de circuitibus annorum et temporum, de naturis animalium, fruticum, lapidum, atque huiusmodi caeteris, etiam non christianus ita noverit, ut certissima ratione vel experientia teneat. Turpe est autem nimis et perniciosum ac maxime cavendum, ut christianum de his rebus quasi secundum christianas Litteras loquentem, ita delirare audiat, ut, quemadmodum dicitur, toto coelo errare conspiciens, risum tenere vix possit. Et non tam molestum est, quod errans homo deridetur, sed quod auctores nostri ab eis qui foris sunt, talia sensisse creduntur, et cum magno eorum exitio de quorum salute satagimus, tamquam indocti reprehenduntur atque respuuntur. Cum enim quemquam de numero Christianorum in ea re quam optime norunt, errare comprehenderint, et vanam sententiam suam de nostris Libris asserere; quo pacto illis Libris credituri sunt, de resurrectione mortuorum, et de spe vitae aeternae, regnoque coelorum, quando de his rebus quas iam experiri, vel indubitatis numeris percipere potuerunt, fallaciter putaverint esse conscriptos? Quid enim molestiae tristitiaeque ingerant prudentibus fratribus temerarii praesumptores, satis dici non potest, cum si quando de prava et falsa opinatione sua reprehendi, et convinci coeperint ab eis qui nostrorum Librorum auctoritate non tenentur, ad defendendum id quod levissima temeritate et apertissima falsitate dixerunt, eosdem Libros sanctos, unde id probent, proferre conantur, vel etiam memoriter, quae ad testimonium valere arbitrantur, multa inde verba pronuntiant, non intellegentes neque quae loquuntur, neque de quibus affirmant.
    • I, xix.
    • Translation by J. H. Taylor in Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, volume 41: "Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion."

In epistulam Ioannis ad Parthos

  • Once for all, then, a short precept is given thee: Love, and do what thou wilt: whether thou hold thy peace, through love hold thy peace; whether thou cry out, through love cry out; whether thou correct, through love correct; whether thou spare, through love do thou spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.
    • Tractatus VII, 8
    • Latin: "dilige et quod vis fac."; falsely often: "ama et fac quod vis."
    • Translation by Professor Joseph Fletcher: "Love and then what you will, do."


  • We make a ladder of our vices, if we trample those same vices underfoot.
    • 3
  • Anger is a weed; hate is the tree.
    • 58
  • He who sings prays twice. (Qui cantat, bis orat)
    • 336
  • The dove loves when it quarrels; the wolf hates when it flatters.
    • 64
  • Bad times, hard times, this is what people keep saying; but let us live well, and times shall be good. We are the times: Such as we are, such are the times.
    • 80:8
  • He who created you without you will not justify you without you.
    • 169
  • You can live, provided you live; that is, you can live for ever, provided you live a good life.
    • 229H:3:2
  • Nobody should ever doubt that in the washing of rebirth (Titus 3:5) absolutely all sins, from the least to the greatest, are altogether forgiven.
    • 229E:2
  • So the Church too, like Mary, enjoys perpetual virginity and uncorrupted fecundity.
    • 195:2
  • So the Church imitates the Lord’s mother - not in the bodily sense, which it could not do - but in mind it is both mother and virgin. In no way, then, did Christ deprive his mother of her virginity by being born, seeing that he made his Church into a virgin by redeeming her fornication with demons.
    • 191:3
  • But it isn’t just a matter of faith, but of faith and works. Each is necessary. For the demons also believe –you heard the apostle- and tremble (Jas 2:19); but their believing doesn’t do them any good. Faith alone is not enough, unless works too are joined to it: Faith working through love (Gal 5:6), says the apostle.
    • 16A:11:2
  • When the apostle James was talking about faith and works against those who thought their faith was enough, and didn’t want to have good works, he said, You believe God is one; you do well; the demons also believe, and tremble.” (Jas 2:19)
    • 183:13:2
  • The fellow who eggs you on to avenge yourself will rob you of what you were going to say – as we forgive our debtors. When you have forfeited that, all your sins will be held against you; absolutely nothing is forgiven.
    • 57:11:3
  • I too have sworn heedlessly and all the time, I have had this most repulsive and death-dealing habit. I’m telling your graces; from the moment I began to serve God, and saw what evil there is in forswearing oneself, I grew very afraid indeed, and out of fear I applied the brakes to this old, old, habit.
    • 180:10:1
  • Don’t hold yourselves cheap, seeing that the creator of all things and of you estimates your value so high, so dear, that he pours out for you every day the most precious blood of his only-begotten Son.
    • 216:3:1
  • You wish to be great, begin from the least. You are thinking to construct some mighty fabric in height; first think of the foundation of humility. And how great soever a mass of building one may wish and design to place above it, the greater the building is to be, the deeper does he dig his foundation.

De doctrina christiana

  • For if a thing is not diminished by being shared with others, it is not rightly owned if it is only owned and not shared.
    • 1:1:1 English Latin
    • Latin: Omnis enim res quae dando non deficit, dum habetur et non datur, nondum habetur quomodo habenda est.


  • Love the sinner and hate the sin (Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum) (Opera Omnia, vol II. col. 962, letter 211.)
  • One does not read in the Gospel that the Lord said: 'I will send you the Paraclete who will teach you about the course of the sun and moon.' For He willed to make them Christians, not mathematicians.
  • Singing is loving. (Cantare Amantis est)
    • Variant translation: Singing is characteristic of a loving person.
    • Variant translation: Singing is for the lovers.
  • Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked.
  • By faithfulness we are collected and wound up into unity within ourselves, whereas we had been scattered abroad in multiplicity.
  • Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.
  • Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.
    • Variant: To many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.
  • Don't you believe that there is in man a deep [spirit] so profound as to be hidden even to him in whom it is?
  • Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.
  • For what is faith unless it is to believe what you do not see?
    • Variant translation(?): Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
  • For, were it not good that evil things should also exist, the omnipotent God would almost certainly not allow evil to be, since beyond doubt it is just as easy for Him not to allow what He does not will, as for Him to do what He will.
  • Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again.
  • Go forth on your path, as it exists only through your walking. (Sermon 169)
  • God does not give heed to the ambitiousness of our prayers, because he is always ready to give to us his light, not a visible light but an intellectual and spiritual one; but we are not always ready to receive it when we turn aside and down to other
  • God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.
  • God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist.
  • God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.
  • God provides the wind, but man must raise the sails.
  • He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.
  • He who is filled with love is filled with God himself.
  • Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.
  • I asked the whole frame of the world about my God; and he answered, I am not He, but He made me.
  • I found thee not, O Lord, without, because I erred in seeking thee without that wert within.
  • I want my friend to miss me as long as I miss him.
  • If two friends ask you to judge a dispute, don't accept, because you will lose one friend; on the other hand, if two strangers come with the same request, accept because you will gain one friend.
  • If we live good lives, the times are also good. As we are, such are the times.
  • In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery?
  • Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible.
  • It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.
  • Love is the beauty of the soul.
  • Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.
  • My mind withdrew its thoughts from experience, extracting itself from the contradictory throng of sensuous images, that it might find out what that light was wherein it was bathed... And thus, with the flash of one hurried glance, it attained to the vision of That Which Is.
  • No eulogy is due to him who simply does his duty and nothing more.
  • Order your soul; reduce your wants; live in charity; associate in Christian community; obey the laws; trust in Providence.
  • Our bodies are shaped to bear children, and our lives are a working out of the processes of creation. All our ambitions and intelligence are beside that great elemental point.
  • Passion is the evil in adultery. If a man has no opportunity of living with another man's wife, but if it is obvious for some reason that he would like to do so, and would do so if he could, he is no less guilty than if he was caught in the act.
  • Patience is the companion of wisdom.
  • People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.
    • Variant: Men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty billows of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, and pass themselves by.
  • Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.
  • Punishment is justice for the unjust.
  • Renouncement: the heroism of mediocrity.
  • The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.
  • The desire is thy prayers; and if thy desire is without ceasing, thy prayer will also be without ceasing. The continuance of your longing is the continuance of your prayer.
  • The mind commands the body and it obeys. The mind orders itself and meets resistance.
  • The people who remained victorious were less like conquerors than conquered.
  • The purpose of all wars, is peace.
  • The words printed here are concepts. You must go through the experiences.
  • The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
  • The world is a great book, of which they that never stir from home read only a page. [1]
  • There is no possible source of evil except good.
  • This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.
  • Thou must be emptied of that wherewith thou art full, that thou mayest be filled with that whereof thou art empty.
  • To abstain from sin when one can no longer sin is to be forsaken by sin, not to forsake it.
  • We are certainly in a common class with the beasts; every action of animal life is concerned with seeking bodily pleasure and avoiding pain
  • We cannot pass our guardian angel's bounds, resigned or sullen, he will hear our sighs.
  • What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.
  • What I needed most was to love and to be loved, eager to be caught. Happily I wrapped those painful bonds around me; and sure enough, I would be lashed with the red-hot pokers or jealousy, by suspicions and fear, by burst of anger and quarrels.
  • Who can map out the various forces at play in one soul? Man is a great depth, O Lord. The hairs of his head are easier by far to count than his feeling, the movements of his heart.
  • You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.
  • Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.
  • If you were the only person on earth, Christ would have still suffered and died for you.
  • An unjust law is no law at all. (in On Free Choice Of The Will, book 1, section 5)


  • Inter faeces et urinam nascimur.
    • We are born between feces and urine.
    • Variant: We are born amid feces and urine.
    • The probable source is a homily by Bernard of Clairvaux. [2]
  • "Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand." Anselm of Canterbury said this, and some people attribute it to Augustine of Hippo. However it may be found in Philip Schaff's translation of 'A Select Library of the Nicene And Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church' Volume VII by St. Augustine, chapter VII. [3]

Quotes about Augustine

  • Of all the fathers of the church, St. Augustine was the most admired and the most influential during the Middle Ages. [...] Augustine was an outsider - a native North African whose family was not Roman but Berber. [...] He was a genius - an intellectual giant.
    • Norman Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, Harper, 1993, p. 74

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikisource has original works written by or about:


  1. "Select Proverbs of All Nations" by "Thomas Fielding" (John Wade), 1824, p. 216.

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

Simple English

Saint Augustine of Hippo
Bishop and Doctor of the Church
BornNovember 13, 354(354-11-13), Tagaste, Algeria
DiedAugust 28, 430 (aged 75), Hippo Regius
Venerated in most Christian groups
Major shrine San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, Pavia, Italy
Feast August 28 (W), June 15 (E)
Attributes child; dove; pen; shell, pierced heart
Patronage brewers; printers; sore eyes; theologians
Saints Portal

Aurelius Augustinus, Augustine of Hippo, or Saint Augustine (November 13, 354 A.D.August 28, 430 A.D.) was a philosopher, theologian, and was bishop of the North African city of Hippo Regius for the last part of his life. Augustine is one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity, and is considered to be one of the church fathers. He framed the concepts of original sin and just war.

In Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint and Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinian religious order. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of Reformation teaching on salvation and grace. In the Eastern Orthodox Church he is a saint, and his feast day is celebrated annually on June 15. Among the Orthodox he is called Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed. "Blessed" here does not mean that he is less than a saint, but is a title bestowed upon him as a sign of respect.[1] The Orthodox do not remember Augustine so much for his theological speculations as for his writings on spirituality.



  • On Christian Doctrine, 397-426
  • Confessions, 397-398
  • The City of God, begun ca. 413, finished 426
  • On the Trinity, 400-416
  • Enchiridion
  • Retractions: At the end of his life (ca. 426-428) Augustine revisited his previous works in chronological order and suggested what he would have said differently in a work titled the Retractions, giving the reader a rare picture of the development of a writer and his final thoughts.
  • The Literal Meaning of Genesis
  • On Free Choice of the Will


  • On the Catechising of the Uninstructed
  • On Faith and the Creed
  • Concerning Faith of Things Not Seen
  • On the Profit of Believing
  • On the Creed: A Sermon to Catechumens
  • On Continence
  • On the Good of Marriage
  • On Holy Virginity
  • On the Good of Widowhood
  • On Lying
  • To Consentius: Against Lying
  • On the Work of Monks
  • On Patience
  • On Care to be Had For the Dead
  • On the Morals of the Catholic Church
  • On the Morals of the Manichaeans
  • On Two Souls, Against the Manichaeans
  • Acts or Disputation Against Fortunatus the Manichaean
  • Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental
  • Reply to Faustus the Manichaean
  • Concerning the Nature of Good, Against the Manichaeans
  • On Baptism, Against the Donatists
  • Answer to Letters of Petilian, Bishop of Cirta
  • The Correction of the Donatists
  • Merits and Remission of Sin, and Infant Baptism
  • On the Spirit and the Letter
  • On Nature and Grace
  • On Man's Perfection in Righteousness
  • On the Proceedings of Pelagius
  • On the Grace of Christ, and on Original Sin
  • On Marriage and Concupiscence
  • On the Soul and its Origin
  • Against Two Letters of the Pelagians
  • On Grace and Free Will
  • On Rebuke and Grace
  • The Predestination of the Saints/Gift of Perseverance
  • Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount
  • The Harmony of the Gospels
  • Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament
  • Tractates on the Gospel of John
  • Homilies on the First Epistle of John
  • Soliloquies
  • The Enarrations, or Expositions, on the Psalms
  • On the Immortality of the Soul



aka The Story of Philosophy, Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2001, ISBN 0-7894-7994-X
(subtitled on cover: The Essential Guide to the History of Western Philosophy)
g Saint Augustine, pages 30, 144; City of God 51, 52, 53 and The Confessions 50, 51, 52
- additional in the Dictionary of the History of Ideas for Saint Augustine and Neo-Platonism

In the arts

  • Indie/rock band Band of Horses have a song called "St. Augustine". It seems that the song speaks of somebody's desire for fame and recognition, rather than their desire for truth.
  • Christian rock band Petra dedicated a song to St. Augustine called "St. Augustine's Pears". It is based on one of Augustine's writings in his book "Confessions" where he tells of how he stole some neighbor's pears without being hungry, and how that petty theft haunted him through his life.[1]
  • Jon Foreman, lead singer and song writer of the alternative rock band Switchfoot wrote a song called "Something More (Augustine's Confession)", based after the life and book, "Confessions", of Augustine.
  • For his 1993 album "Ten Summoner's Tales", Sting wrote a song entitled "Saint Augustine in Hell", with lyrics 'Make me chaste, but not just yet' alluding to Augustine's famous prayer, 'Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet'.
  • Bob Dylan, for his 1967 album John Wesley Harding penned a song entitled "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" (also covered by Thea Gilmore in her 2002 album Songs from the Gutter.). The song's opening lines ("I dreamed I saw Saint Augustine / Alive as you or me") are likely based on the opening lines of " I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night", a song crafted in 1936 by Earl Robinson detailing the death of the famous American labor-activist who, himself, was an influential songwriter.
  • Roberto Rossellini directed the film "Agostino d'Ippona" (Augustine of Hippo) for Italy's RAI-TV in 1972.
  • Alternative rock band Sherwood's album "Sing, But Keep Going" references a famous quote attributed to St. Augustine on the inside cover.
  • After being unintentionally baptised by Ned Flanders in episode '3F01' - "Home Sweet Home - Diddily-Dum-Doodily", Homer Simpson says, "Oh, Bartholomew, I feel like St. Augustine of Hippo after his conversion by Ambrose of Milan."
  • Christian singer Kevin Max mentions St. Augustine in his song "Angel With No Wings". He sings So come on back when you can make some tea/And read Saint Augustine.


  • Brown, Peter. Augustine of Hippo. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967. ISBN 0-520-00186-9
  • Gareth B. Matthews. Augustine. Blackwell, 2005. ISBN 0-631-23348-2
  • O'Donnell, James J. Augustine: A New Biography. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN 0-06-053537-7
  • Ruickbie, Leo. Witchcraft Out of the Shadows. London: Robert Hale, 2004. ISBN 0-7090-7567-7, pp. 57-8.
  • Tanquerey, Adolphe. The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology. Reprinted Ed. (original 1930). Rockford, IL: Tan Books, 2000. ISBN 0-89555-659-6, p. 37.
  • von Heyking, John. Augustine and Politics as Longing in the World. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8262-1349-9
  • Orbis Augustinianus sive conventuum O. Erem. S. A. chorographica et topographica descriptio Augustino Lubin, Paris, 1659, 1671, 1672.
  • Regle de St. Augustin pour les religieuses de son ordre; et Constitutions de la Congregation des Religieuses du Verbe-Incarne et du Saint-Sacrament (Lyon: Chez Pierre Guillimin, 1662), pp. 28-29. Cf. later edition published at Lyon (Chez Briday, Libraire,1962), pp. 22-24. English edition, The Rule of Saint Augustine and the Constitutions of the Order of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament (New York: Schwartz, Kirwin, and Fauss, 1893), pp. 33-35.
  • Zumkeller O.S.A.,Adolar (1986). Augustine's ideal of Religious life. Fordham University Press, New York. 
  • Zumkeller O.S.A.,Adolar (1987). Augustine's Rule. Augustinian Press, Villanova,

Pennsylvania U.S.A.. 

Other pages

Other websites

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Error creating thumbnail: sh: convert: command not found
Wikimedia Commons has images, video, and/or sound related to:


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address