Saint Augustine

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Augustine, Saint

(ô`gəstēn, –tĭn; ôgŭs`tĭn), Lat. Aurelius Augustinus, 354–430, one of the Latin Fathers of the Church and a Doctor of the Church, bishop of Hippo (near present-day Annaba, Algeria), b. Tagaste (c.40 mi/60 km S of Hippo).

Life

Augustine's mother, St. Monica, was a great influence in his life. She brought him up as a Christian, but he gave up his religion when he went to school at Carthage. There he became adept in rhetoric. In his Confessions he repents of his wild youth in Carthage, during which time he fathered an illegitimate son. At some time in his youth he became a convert to ManichaeismManichaeism
or Manichaeanism
, religion founded by Mani (c.216–c.276). Mani's Life

Mani (called Manes by the Greeks and Romans) was born near Baghdad, probably of Persian parents; his father may have been a member of the Mandaeans.
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. After 376 he went to Rome, where he taught rhetoric with success; in 384, at the urging of the Manichaeans, he went to Milan to teach.

His years at Milan were the critical period of his life. Already distrustful of Manichaeism, he came to renounce it after a deep study of Neoplatonism and skepticism. Augustine, troubled in spirit, was greatly drawn by the eloquent fervor of St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan. After two years of great doubt and mental disquietude, Augustine suddenly decided to embrace Christianity. He was baptized on Easter in 387. Soon afterward he returned to Tagaste, where he lived a monastic life with a group of friends. In 391, while he was visiting in Hippo, he was chosen against his will to be a Christian priest there. For the rest of his life he remained in Hippo, where he became auxiliary bishop in 395 and bishop soon after. He died in the course of the siege of Hippo by the Vandals. Feast: Aug. 28.

His Works and Teachings

St. Augustine's influence on Christianity is thought by many to be second only to that of St. Paul, and theologians, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, look upon him as one of the founders of Western theology. His Confessions is considered a classic of Christian autobiography. This work (c.400), the prime source for St. Augustine's life, is a beautifully written apology for the Christian convert. Next to it his best-known work is the City of God (after 412)—a mammoth defense of Christianity against its pagan critics, and famous especially for the uniquely Christian view of history elaborated in its pages.

Augustine regarded all history as God's providential preparation of two mystical cities, one of God and one of the devil, to one or the other of which all humankind will finally belong. His greatest purely dogmatic work is On the Trinity, but much of his theological teaching comes from his polemic writings. His works against the Manichaeans, especially Against Faustus (his Manichaean teacher), are important for the light they throw on this religion. Against DonatismDonatism
, schismatic movement among Christians of N Africa (fl. 4th cent.), led by Donatus, bishop of Casae Nigrae (fl. 313), and the theologian Donatus the Great or Donatus Magnus (d. 355).
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 St. Augustine directed two works, On Baptism and On the Correction of the Donatists, in which he formulated the idea, since then become part of Roman Catholicism, that the church's authority is the guarantee of the Christian faith, its own guarantee being the apostolic successionapostolic succession,
in Christian theology, the doctrine asserting that the chosen successors of the apostles enjoyed through God's grace the same authority, power, and responsibility as was conferred upon the apostles by Jesus.
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.

The most important and vitriolic controversy in which St. Augustine was involved was his battle against PelagianismPelagianism
, Christian heretical sect that rose in the 5th cent. challenging St. Augustine's conceptions of grace and predestination. The doctrine was advanced by the celebrated monk and theologian Pelagius (c.355–c.425). He was probably born in Britain.
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. The Pelagians denied original sin and the fall of humanity. The implication of this aroused Augustine, who held that humanity was corrupt and helpless. From his writings the great controversies on grace proceed, and as professed followers of Augustine, John Calvin and the Jansenists developed predestinarian theologies. Though revering Augustine, many theologians have refused to accept his more extreme statements on grace. Another of St. Augustine's important treatises, On the Work of Monks, has been much used by monastics. He was also a supremely important biblical exegete. His letters are numerous and revealing. His most important works are available in translation.

Bibliography

See biographies by G. Wills (1999), P. R. L. Brown (rev. ed. 2000), J. J. O'Donnell (2005), and R. Lane Fox (2016); R. W. Battenhouse, ed., A Companion to the Study of St. Augustine (1955); R. A. Markus, Saeculum: History and Society in the Theology of St. Augustine (1970); E. Teselle, Augustine the Theologian (1970); G. Wills, Augustine's Confessions: A Biography (2011); R. L. Fox, Augustine: Conversions to Confessions (2015).


See also: National Parks and Monuments (table)National Parks and Monuments

National Parks
Name Type1 Location Year authorized Size
acres (hectares)
Description
Acadia NP SE Maine 1919 48,419 (19,603) Mountain and coast scenery.
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Saint Augustine

(sānt ô`gəstēn), city (1990 pop. 11,692), seat of St. Johns co., NE Fla.; inc. 1824. Located on a peninsula between the Matanzas and San Sebastian rivers, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by Anastasia Island; the Intracoastal WaterwayIntracoastal Waterway,
c.3,000 mi (4,827 km) long, partly natural, partly artificial, providing sheltered passage for commercial and leisure boats along the U.S. Atlantic coast from Boston, Mass. to Key West, S Fla., and along the Gulf of Mexico coast from Apalachee Bay, NW Fla.
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 passes through the city. St. Augustine is a port of entry, a shrimping and commercial fishing center, and a popular year-round resort. The economic mainstay is tourism, supplemented with revenues from small industries. The oldest city in the United States, it was founded in 1565 by the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés on the site of an ancient Native American village and near the place where Ponce de Léon, the discoverer of Florida, had landed in 1513. The town was burned and sacked by the English buccaneers Sir Francis Drake (1586) and Capt. John Davis (1665). St. Augustine repelled attacks by South Carolinians in 1702–3 and in 1740 by James OglethorpeOglethorpe, James Edward
, 1696–1785, English general and philanthropist, founder of the American colony of Georgia. He had some military experience before being elected (1722) to the House of Commons, where he held a seat for 32 years.
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, the founder of Georgia, but it passed to the English in 1763 at the end of the French and Indian WarsFrench and Indian Wars,
1689–1763, the name given by American historians to the North American colonial wars between Great Britain and France in the late 17th and the 18th cent.
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. In the American Revolution, Tories flocked to the city from the North but left when it reverted to Spain in 1783. In 1821, Spain ceded Florida to the United States, and St. Augustine grew rapidly until the Seminole War in the 1830s. Union troops occupied the city in Mar., 1862, and held it throughout the Civil War. Among the old landmarks is Castillo de San Marcos (kăstē`yō də săn mär`kəs), now a national monument (see National Parks and MonumentsNational Parks and Monuments

National Parks
Name Type1 Location Year authorized Size
acres (hectares)
Description
Acadia NP SE Maine 1919 48,419 (19,603) Mountain and coast scenery.
..... Click the link for more information.
, table). The oldest masonry fort in the country (built 1672–96), it was Spain's northernmost outpost on the Atlantic in the Americas. Fort Matanzas (mətăn`zəs), also a national monument, was built by Spain in 1742. Other places of interest in the city are the old schoolhouse, the house reputed to be the oldest in the United States (said to date from the late 16th cent.), and the cathedral (built 1793–97; partly restored). Flagler College is in the city.

Bibliography

See G. E. Baker, The Oldest City (1983); J. P. M. Waterbury, Augustine History (1989).

Augustine, Saint

 

(also Aurelius Augustinus or Augus-tinus Sanctus). Born Nov. 13, 354, in Thagaste, Numidia, North Africa; died Aug. 28, 430, in Hippo, North Africa. Christian theologian and most illustrious representative of Western patrology. At first he was under the spell of Man-ichaeism and skepticism; he was baptized in 387. From 395 he was bishop of Hippo.

The spiritual world of Augustine is characteristically antithetic: a unique intellectual sensibility as opposed to a tendency to bracing dogma, and a developed individualistic consciousness as opposed to a church-inspired, impersonal mysticism. Augustine’s ontology and his teachings about God as an absolute being follow Neoplatonism, but Augustine attempted to rethink old ideas, starting from the subject rather than the object, and from human thought as self-evident witness, an anticipation of Descartes’ basic concept. According to Augustine, the existence ofGod is the connotation of man’s cognition of himself, while the existence of objects is not; this train of thought is similar to Anselm of Canterbury’s and the reverse of Thomas Aquinas’ approach. Augustine’s psy-chologism is revealed in his doctrine of time as a correlate of a remembering, percepting, and expectant soul.

A new feature in Augustine’s thinking was his attention to two problems ignored by heathen philosophy: the dynamics of human personality and the dynamics of mankind’s history. The former is dealt with in his Confessions—an inner autobiography that presents Augustine’s spiritual development from infancy to his final self-affirmation as an orthodox Christian. With a psychological self-analysis which was unattainable in heathen literature and philosophy, Augustine depicted the complexity of the formation of the personality. Augustine’s personalism implicitly inferred the doctrine of predestination. From an observation of the dark “abysses” of the soul, Augustine arrived at the conclusion of the necessity of God’s grace, which saves man’s nature from self-sufficiency and therefore leads to eternal salvation. The mystic recognition of history’s dialectic is presented in the treatise The City of God, which was written after Rome’s capture by Alaric in 410. Augustine perceived two opposite types of human communities: the earthly city, that is, a state based on “love of self extending to disregard of God,” and the heavenly city, a spiritual community based on “love of God extending to disregard of self.” The heavenly city is certainly not identical to the political theocracy, in the spirit of which medieval Catholic ideologists interpreted Augustine’s teachings; he stressed the unworldliness of the heavenly city and the impossibility of adapting it to political reality. Augustine found apt words to criticize the “Cain-like” spirit of the empire, the predatory nature of the civilization of late antiquity, and the callousness of the Romans, who conquered foreign cities and then complained when the same was done to their own city. However, Augustine found that all violence—from violence toward children in schools, expressively described in Confessions, to state violence—is the result of the sinful depravity of man and, although contemptible, is inevitable. For this reason, Augustine recognized the necessity for the authority of the state, which he likened to a “large band of robbers.”

Augustine’s influence was manifold. For the medieval era, Augustine was an undisputed authority on religion and philosophy who had no equal until Thomas Aquinas. The Platonic orientation of early scholasticism originated with him. His skill in conveying individual emotions was admired by the Humanists, and his experience of grace, by the early Protestants. The confession motif in the sentimental literature of Rousseau and others brought Augustine’s experience of introspection into the secular sphere. Contemporary Catholic neoscholastic thinkers, unsatisfied with the rationality of Thomism, turn to Augustine. Existentialists see Augustine as one of their forebears.

WORKS

Opera omnia, vols. 1–11. Paris, 1864–65 (Patrologiae cursus compl., ser. latina . . . , vols. 32–47). Edited by J.-P. Migne.
In Russian translation:
Tvoreniia Blazhennogo Avgustina, 2nd ed., parts 1–7. Kiev, 1901–12.

REFERENCES

Trubetskoi, E. Religiozno-obshchestvennyi ideal zapadnogo khristianstva v V veke, part 1, Moscow, 1892.
Ger’e, V. Bl. Avgustin. Moscow, 1910.
Popov, I. V. Lichnost’ i uchenie Bl. Avgustina, vol. 1, parts 1–2. Sergiev Posad, 1916.
Istoriia filosofii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1940. Pages 391–96.
Maier, F. G. Augustin und das antike Rom. [Stuttgart-Cologne,] 1955.
Jaspers, K. Die grossen Philosophen, vol. 1. Munich, 1957.
Hessen, J. Augustins Metaphysik der Erkenntnis. Leiden, 1960.
Deane, H. A. The Political and Social Ideas of St. Augustine. New York-London, 1963.

S. S. AVERINTSEV

Saint Augustine

a resort in NE Florida, on the Intracoastal Waterway: the oldest town in North America (1565); the northernmost outpost of the Spanish colonial empire for over 200 years. Pop.: 11 915 (2003 est.)