Saint Augustine

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Saint Augustine Saint Augustine, b. Nov. 13, 354, d. Aug. 28, 430, was one of the foremost philosopher-theologians of early Christianity and, while serving (396-430) as bishop of Hippo Regius, the leading figure in the church of North Africa. He had a profound influence on the subsequent development of Western thought and culture and, more than any other person, shaped the themes and defined the problems that have characterized the Western tradition of Christian Theology. Among his many writings considered classics, the two most celebrated are his semi-autobiographical Confessions, which contains elements of Mysticism, and City of God, a Christian vision of history. Early Life and Conversion Augustine was born at Thagaste (modern Souk-Ahras, Algeria), a small town in the Roman province of Numidia. He received a classical education that both schooled him in Latin literature and enabled him to escape from his provincial upbringing. Trained at Carthage in rhetoric (public oratory), which was a requisite for a legal or political career in the Roman empire, he became a teacher of rhetoric in Carthage, in Rome, and finally in Milan, a seat of imperial government at the time. At Milan, in 386, Augustine underwent religious conversion. He retired from his public position, received baptism from Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, and soon returned to North Africa. In 391, he was ordained to the priesthood in Hippo Regius (modern Bone, Algeria); five years later he became bishop. The first part of Augustine's life (to 391) can be seen as a series of attempts to reconcile his Christian faith with his classical culture. His mother, Saint Monica, had reared him as a Christian. Although her religion did not hold an important place in his earl... ... middle of paper ... ...o. In doing so, he created a theology that has remained basic to Western Christianity, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, ever since. Feast day: Aug. 28. William S. Babcock Bibliography: Battenhouse, Roy, ed., A Companion to the Study of St. Augustine (1955); Brown, Peter, Augustine of Hippo (1967; repr. 1987); Burnaby, John, Amor Dei: A Study of the Religion of St. Augustine (1938 repr. 1960); Chadwick, Henry, Augustine (1986); Marrou, H. I., St. Augustine and His Influence Through the Ages, trans. by P. Hepburne-Scott (1957); O'Daly, Gerard, Augustine's Philosophy of the Mind (1987); O'Meara, John, An Augustine Reader (1973); Pagels, Elaine, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent (1988); Pelikan, Jaroslav, The Mystery of Continuity: Time and History, Memory and Eternity in the Thought of St. Augustine (1986); Smith, Warren Thomas, Augustine: His Life and Thought (1980).
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