Augustine

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Augustine of Hippo
BirthplaceThagaste, Numidia (now Souk Ahras, Algeria)
Died

Augustine,

volcano, Alaska: see Augustine IslandAugustine Island
, unihabited volcanic island, S Alaska, in Kamishak Bay at mouth of Cook Inlet. The active Augustine (or St. Augustine) volcano, which forms the entire island, rises to 4,134 ft (1,260 m); ash from its last major eruption (1986) reached Anchorage, some 180 mi
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Augustine of Hippo, one of the Latin fathers of the Church, lived and taught in Roman North Africa. Fortean Picture Library.

Augustine

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) was a professor of rhetoric, born in the little town of Tagaste, North Africa. The purpose of rhetoric, as practiced in those days, was not to deliver truth. That was left to the philosophers. Students of rhetoric learned to present clear and forceful arguments for whatever they were called to defend. Augustine had a problem, however. He was forced to study and teach the works of Cicero, the famous orator of classical Rome. And Cicero was a philosopher who very much cared about truth. It was while studying his works that Augustine came to a conviction that style was worthless without substance. This decision led him to the study of Manicheism. Mani, its third-century founder, was convinced that the Zoroastrian concept of "light" battling "darkness" was true, but he interpreted the struggle as a battle between spirit and matter. Manichean mythology explained that light and darkness had somehow mingled within each individual. Salvation consisted of separating the two so as to prepare the human spirit for its return to pure light. Mani believed this principle had been revealed to Buddha, Zoroaster, and Jesus. Augustine responded favorably to Manicheism for two reasons. First, any teacher of rhetoric must consider the language of the Bible to be inelegant, at best. To a professor like Augustine, some of it must have appeared positively barbaric.

Second, Augustine had a real problem with the Christian concept of evil (see Evil). How did a "good" God allow evil into the universe, especially after pronouncing Creation "very good"? If evil came from God, God couldn't be good. And if it didn't, God couldn't be all-powerful. It was as simple, and as complex, as that.

But Augustine was simply too intelligent for his Manichean teachers to handle. Their explanations didn't help him in his quest. So he turned to Neoplatonism.

This philosophy was very popular at the time, and it appealed to Augustine because it had religious overtones. It was a philosophical discipline that sought to reach the "One," the source of all being. Neoplatonists taught that all reality derived from one principle that was totally good. The more one understood the good, the further one moved from evil. Moral evil consists of looking away from the One and living in the world of contradictions and inferior ideas. So Augustine became convinced that evil was not a thing, but rather a direction—away from the One and the Good.

This notion seemed to satisfy him until he agreed to listen to a series of sermons preached by Ambrose, at that time the most famous preacher in Milan.

Although he attended at first just to listen to Ambrose's rhetoric, he was soon captivated by his message.

The key, according to Ambrose, was that the Bible was to be interpreted allegorically, not literally. This was Augustine's answer; it allowed him to reconcile what he had previously seen as the inherent contradictions of Christianity. He didn't need to check his great intellect at the door of the church. He decided to become a Christian.

At first he was confused about the fact that he rather liked the good life that seemed to be anathema to the Christian community. His famous prayer reveals that struggle. "God, give me chastity and continence; but not too soon!"

Through years of intellectual and emotional struggle, however, Augustine persevered to emerge as one of the leading intellectual Christian philosophers and theologians. His closely reasoned arguments against what are now called heresies; his spiritual autobiography, Confessions; and his monumental City of God are still required readings at most seminaries.

He eventually became the favorite theologian of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformers, and he is today considered the most influential Western theologian of both the Protestant and Catholic traditions.

Augustine

1. Saint. 354--430 ad, one of the Fathers of the Christian Church; bishop of Hippo in North Africa (396--430), who profoundly influenced both Catholic and Protestant theology. His most famous works are Confessions, a spiritual autobiography, and De Civitate Dei, a vindication of the Christian Church. Feast day: Aug. 28
2. Saint. died 604 ad, Roman monk, sent to Britain (597 ad) to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity and to establish the authority of the Roman See over the native Celtic Church; became the first archbishop of Canterbury (601--604). Feast day: May 26 or 27
3. a member of an Augustinian order
References in periodicals archive ?
Rereading the Renaissance: Petrarch, Augustine, and the Language of Humanism.
These display the figuration of Augustine both to illustrate and to challenge humanist practices.
Although Augustine was a reader and writer, his reading conducted him through the discovery of philosophy to the very transcendence of reading.
warns that "we need to be cunning in evading the snares he [Augustine] laid for his biographers" (37), but that he will in the next few pages present in simple terms the story Augustine told in books one to nine.
Although my judgment on Augustine and his heritage differs in many respects from that of the author, he certainly does get his reader to take a fresh look at the man who has dominated the language and thought of the Christian West for over 16 centuries.
suggests that Augustine "is Don Quixote in a world that really takes him and his obsessions seriously" (204).
argues that Chapters 10 through 20 of Book 7 do not represent a historical narrative of a series of insights, including mystical ascents and visions, that Augustine had in 386.
O'Connell has taken these three conversions as the focus for his fascinating study, showing us how much there is still to learn from a fresh examination of these pivotal episodes through an analysis of the images Augustine used in describing them.
Augustine, Florida's colonial capitol -- at 9AM, the annual, historical re-enactment of Menendez' landing and anniversary commemoration will be presented by Florida Living History, Inc.
Augustine area will be the highlights of the 450[sup.
When the Pelagian Julian accused the Bishop of Hippo of having changed his opinion regarding the nature and transmission of original sin, Augustine invited Julian to look at his earliest writings and therein to see the consistency of thought that existed all along--sic tenui semper ut teneo (c.
Brown opened his indispensable 1967 Augustine of Hippo: A Biography by highlighting an Augustine who had emerged from various philosophical schools, alight with confidence in human nature and in the power of reason.