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


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.


(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.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Sed hoe seelus a vestro sancto apostolatu est resecandum, tam de illo quamque etiam de transgressore Clemente, qui sacros canones spernit atque expositionem sanctorum patrum Ambrosii, Augustini et ceterorum respuit dicta sanctorum": ep.
Survivors include her husband; three sons, Gregory of Norfolk, Va., Robert of San Jose, Calif., and Ian of Jersey City, N.J.; two daughters, Lorraine Mills of Sacramento and Doreen Mills of Pittsburgh; five brothers, John Augustini and Larry Augustini, both of Olean, Frank Augustini of Kennedale, Texas, Joseph Augustini of Conroe, Texas, and Carmen Augustini of Calgary, Alberta; a sister, Mary Augustin of Philadelphia; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Whether writing of her mother's Italian roots, Irish legend, or the natural world; whether in the voice of a fifteen-year-old girl impregnated by her father, the Uruguayan poet Delmira Augustini, or a contemporary bag lady, David's ability to enter imaginatively into other lives makes a significant contribution to the history she is committed to rewriting.
Aureli Augustini Hipponensis Episcopi de Scriptura sacra Speculum, mas conocido como Speculum Augustinus (16).
In this context, it is possible to wonder about the significance of what would seem to be Augustine's last words on physical death, spoken during the siege of Hippo and recorded by Possidius in the Vita Augustini (27): `He will not be great who thinks it a great matter that wood and stones fall and mortals die.' Augustine was quoting Plotinus (Enn.I.4.7), but the sentiments expressed might have been uttered by many people in Greco-Roman antiquity.
At the beginning, however, Augustine makes it clear that he is writing specifically to Prosper and Hilary,(11) and Bede, who extracts six passages from the book in his Collectio ex opusculis sancti Augustini in epistulas Pauli Apostoli, always refers in the title to the name of the addressees (~ex libro ad Prosperum et Hilarium'), and once refers to the work simply as ~ad Prosperum et Hilarium'.(12) Perhaps more significantly, the letters of the two monks often appear in the manuscripts with De praedestinatione sanctorum, as they do in Salisbury, Cathedral Library MS 117, the only known surviving manuscript of the work from Anglo-Saxon England.(13) Thus it is not surprising that Alcuin considered it a letter.
Al estudio lexicografico sobre el diverso uso de la palabra <<Padre>> en la literatura medieval (Martin MORARD), que ofrecio una vision de conjunto, siguieron estudios de aspectos mas acotados sobre el rol de los Padres en la Edad Media: en la predicacion de los siglos XII y XIII (Nicole beriou), en la Expositio in regulam sancti Augustini de los canonigos regulares (Ursula VONES-LIEBENSTEIN), en la tradicion de la Orden de los Predicadores en el caso de Giordano da Pisa (Silvia SERVENTI) y en la liturgia segun el Breviario del s.
Augustini de Urbe, in qua post exequias peractas orta est inter Fratres, et Clerum S.
252; but the Old English words look nothing like what is printed there, and a closer look at the introductioa and Miller's footaote reveals that this explicit stands at the end of the Interrogatioaes Augustini at Miller p.
reprehensores sancti Augustini et simili impietate impugnare conati sunt vana objicere, et recta impugnare, et prava defendere; peremptorumque armis intestinum bellum moventes, dictis divinis, atque humanis constitutionibus rebellare ...
. "Blosius Palladius, Suburbanum Augustini Chisii: Introduction, Latin: Text and English Translation." Humanistica Lovaniensia 39 (1990): 93-156.