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St. Augustine

Augustine of Hippo also known as St Augustine (354 – 430), was born in Algeria. He was bishop of Hippo Regius (present-day Annaba, Algeria), and a Latin philosopher and theologian from the African Province of the Roman Empire and is generally considered as one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time. He is patron saint for brewers, printers and theologians.

His writings were very influential in the development of Western Christianity and translations remain in print.

According to his contemporary Jerome, Augustine "established anew the ancient Faith." In his early years he was heavily influenced by Manichaeism and afterward by the Neo-Platonism of Plotinus. After his conversion to Christianity and his baptism in 387, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and different perspectives. He believed that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom and he framed the concepts of original sin and just war.

When the Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the Catholic Church as a spiritual City of God (in a book of the same name), distinct from the material Earthly City. His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. Augustine's City of God was closely identified with the Church, the community that worshiped the Trinity.

In the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint, pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinians. His memorial is celebrated 28 August, the day of his death. He is the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, the alleviation of sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of the Protestant Reformation due to his teachings on salvation and divine grace. In the Eastern Orthodox Church he is also considered a saint, his feast day being celebrated on 15 June. He carries the additional title of Blessed. Among the Orthodox, he is called "Blessed Augustine" or "St. Augustine the Blessed".


Early childhood

Augustine was born in 354 in the municipium of Thagaste (now Souk Ahras, Algeria) in Roman Africa. His father, Patricius, was a pagan, and his mother, Monica, was Christian. Scholars believe that Augustine's ancestors included Berbers, Latins and Phoenicians. Augustine's family name, Aurelius, suggests that his father's ancestors were freedmen of the gens Aurelia given full Roman citizenship by the Edict of Caracalla in 212. Augustine's family had been Roman, from a legal standpoint, for at least a century when he was born. It is assumed that his mother, Monica, was of Berber origin, on the basis of her name, but as his family were honestiores, Augustine's first language is likely to have been Latin. At the age of 11, he was sent to school at Madaurus (now M'Daourouch), a small Numidian city about 19 miles south of Thagaste. There he became familiar with Latin literature, as well as pagan beliefs and practices. While at home in 369 and 370, he read Cicero's dialogue Hortensius (now lost), which he described as leaving a lasting impression on him and sparking his interest in philosophy.

Studying at Carthage

At age 17, through the generosity of fellow citizen Romanianus, Augustine went to Carthage to continue his education in rhetoric. Although raised as a Christian, Augustine left the church to follow the Manichaean religion, much to the despair of his mother, Monica. As a youth Augustine lived a hedonistic lifestyle for a time, associating with young men who boasted of their sexual exploits with women and urged the inexperienced boys, like Augustine, to seek out experiences or to make up stories about experiences in order to gain acceptance and avoid ridicule. It was during this period that he uttered his famous prayer, "Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet" (Latin: da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo). At a young age, he began an affair with a young woman in Carthage. She was his lover for over thirteen years and gave birth to his son Adeodatus, who was said to have been extremely intelligent.

Teaching rhetoric

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. Disturbed by the unruly behavior 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.

Augustine won the job and headed north to take up his position in late 384. At the age of thirty, he had won the most visible academic position in the Latin world, at a time when such posts gave ready access to political careers. During this period, although Augustine showed some fervor for Manichaeism, he was never an initiate or "elect", but remained an "auditor", the lowest level in the sect's hierarchy.

While Augustine was in Milan, his 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. In Rome, he is reported to have completely turned away from Manichaeanism, and instead embraced the scepticism 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. But it was the bishop of Milan, Ambrose, who had most influence over Augustine. Like Augustine, Ambrose was a master of rhetoric, 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 because of otium that Alypius of Thagaste steered Augustine away from marriage. He said that they could not live a life together in the love of wisdom if he married. Augustine looked back years later on the life at Cassiciacum, a villa outside of Milan where he gathered with his followers, and described it as Christianae vita otium - the Christian life of leisure. Augustine had been awarded a job of professor of rhetoric in Milan at the time he was living at Cassiciacum around 383. In 388, he returned to Africa and his home country and pursued a life of aristocratic otium at his family's property. In 391 he was ordained bishop of Hippo Regius (hence obtaining the name "Augustine of Hippo") and gave his property to the church of Thagaste.

Christian conversion

In the summer of 386, after having heard the story of Placianus about his and his friends' first reading of the life of Saint Anthony of the Desert, which greatly inspired him, Augustine underwent a profound personal crisis, leading 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. According to Augustine his conversion was prompted by a childlike voice he heard telling him in a sing-song voice, "Take up and read" (Latin: tolle, lege):

I threw myself down somehow under a certain figtree, and let my tears flow freely. Rivers streamed from my eyes, a sacrifice acceptable to you and (though not in these words, yet in this sense) I repeatedly said to you: 'How long, O Lord? How long, Lord, will you be angry to the uttermost? Do not be mindful of our old iniquities.'. For I felt my past to have a grip on me. It uttered wretched cries: 'How long, how long is it to be?' 'Tomorrow, tomorrow.' 'Why not now? Why not an end to my impure life in this very hour?'

As I was saying this and weeping in the bitter agony of my heart, suddenly I heard a voice from the nearby house chanting as if it might be a boy or a girl (I do not know which), saying and repeating over and over again 'Pick up and read, pick up and read.' At once my countenance changed, and I began to think intently whether there might be some sort of children's game in which such a chant is used. But I could not remember having heard of one. I checked the flood of tears and stood up. I interpreted it solely as a divine command to me to open the book and read the first chapter I might find. For I had heard how Antony happened to be present at the gospel reading, and took it as an admonition addressed to himself when the words were read: 'Go, sell all you have, give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me'. By such an inspired utterance he was immediately 'converted to you' (Ps. 50.15). So I hurried back to the place where Alypius was sitting. There I had put down the book of the apostle when I got up. I seized it, opened it and in silence read the first passage on which my eyes lit: 'Not in riots and drunken parties, not in eroticism and indecencies, not in strife and rivalry, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in its lusts'.

I neither wished nor needed to read further. At once, with the last words of this sentence, it was as if a light of relief from all anxiety flooded into my heart. All the shadows of doubt were dispelled.

— The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Book VIII, Paragraphs 28 and 29.

The volume Augustine read was Paul's Epistle to the Romans. He wrote an account of his conversion in his Confessions (Latin: Confessiones), which became a classic of Christian theology. Ambrose baptized Augustine, along with his son Adeodatus on Easter Vigil in 387 in Milan, and a year later they returned to Africa. Also in 388 he completed his apology On the Holiness of the Catholic Church. On the way back to Africa, Augustine's mother Monica died, and Adeodatus soon after.


Upon his return to north Africa Augustine 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. 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, and became full Bishop shortly thereafter. He remained in this position until his death in 430. Augustine worked tirelessly in trying to convince the people of Hippo to convert to Christianity. He left his monastery, but continued to lead a monastic life in the episcopal residence. He left a regula his monastery that has led him to be designated the "patron saint of regular clergy"

Much of Augustine's later life was recorded by his friend Possidius, bishop of Calama (present-day Guelma, Algeria), 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 its 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.


Shortly before Augustine's death, Roman Africa was invaded by the Vandals, a Germanic tribe that had converted to Arianism. The Vandals besieged Hippo in the spring of 430, when Augustine entered his final illness. According to Possidius, 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.

Possidius also gives a first-hand account of Augustine's death, which occurred on 28 August 430, while Hippo was still besieged. 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. Shortly after his death, the Vandals lifted 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.

According to Bede's True Martyrology, Augustine's body was later translated to Cagliari, Sardinia, by the Catholic bishops expelled from North Africa by Huneric. Around 720, his remains were translated again by Peter, bishop of Pavia and uncle of the Lombard king Liutprand, to the church of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, in order to save them from frequent coastal raids by Muslims. In January 1327, Pope John XXII issued the papal bull Veneranda Santorum Patrum, in which he appointed the Augustinians guardians of the tomb of Augustine, which was remade in 1362 and elaborately carved with bas-reliefs of scenes from Augustine's life. By that time, however, the actual remains of Augustine could not be authenticated. Stonemasons working in the crypt altar removed paving blocks and discovered a marble box. Within it were other boxes; in the third box were fragments of wood, numerous bones and bone fragments, and glass vials. Some of the workers later claimed to have seen the name "Augustine" written in charcoal on the top of the box. A factor complicating the authentication of the remains was that San Pietro was shared by two Augustinian religious orders in bitter rivalry. The Augustinians were expelled from Pavia in 1700, taking refuge in Milan with the relics of Augustine, and the disassembled Arca, which were removed to the cathedral there. San Pietro fell into disrepair and was a military magazine during the Napoleonic occupation of the city. It was finally rebuilt in the 1870s, under the urging of Agostino Gaetano Riboldi, and reconsecrated in 1896 when the relics of Augustine and the shrine were once again reinstalled.


Augustine was one of the most prolific Latin authors in terms of surviving works, and the list of his works consists of more than one hundred separate titles. 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, 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 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 (De libero arbitrio), addressing why God gives humans free will that can be used for evil. In his work "De Ordine" ("On Order"), "Augustine, stumbling upon a cockfight, had a revelation", and writes in every motion of these animals unendowed with reason there was nothing ungraceful since, of course, another higher reason was guiding everything they did. Again in understanding God's creation and His order, Augustine further writes, Order is that which will lead us to God, if we hold to it during life; and unless we do hold to it during life, we shall not come to God.

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. 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. 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, Kierkegaard, 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. His feast day is 28 August, 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.

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." 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 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, 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." Martin Heidegger refers to Augustine's descriptive philosophy at several junctures in his influential work Being and Time. 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." 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 glamorously 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 ." 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. Post-Marxist philosophers Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt rely heavily on Augustine's thought, particularly The City of God, in their book of political-philosophy "Empire."

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.

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).

Influence on contemporary ministers and authors

Augustine has influenced many modern-day theologians and authors. One known theologian and author is John Piper, whose series of books is called The Swans Are Not Silent, in which the first book is titled The Legacy of Sovereign Joy, referring to a quote taken from (Confessions, IX,1).

"How sweet it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose.... You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure, though not of flesh and blood, you who outshine all light, yet are hidden deeper than any secret in our hearts, you who surpass all honor, though not in the eyes of men who see all honor in themselves.... O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and My Salvation."

Hannah Arendt, an influential 20th century political theorist, wrote her doctoral dissertation in philosophy on St. Augustine, and continued to rely on his thought throughout her career.

In his autobiographical book Milestones, Pope Benedict XVI, a prolific and influential Catholic theologian in his own right before ascending to the papacy, claims St. Augustine as one of the deepest influences in his thought.


Abortion and ensoulment

Like other Church Fathers such as Athenagoras, St. Augustine "vigorously condemned the practice of induced abortion" as a crime, in any stage of pregnancy, although he accepted the distinction between "formed" and "unformed" fetuses mentioned in the Septuagint translation of Exodus 21:22-23, a text that, he observed, did not classify as murder the abortion of an "unformed" fetus, since it could not be said with certainty that it had already received a soul (see, e.g., De Origine Animae 4.4).


Augustine was one of the first Christian ancient Latin authors with very clear anthropological vision. He saw the human being as a perfect unity of two substances: soul and body. In his late treatise On Care to Be Had for the Dead, section 5 (420 AD) he exhorted to respect the body on the grounds that it belonged to the very nature of the human person:

In no wise are the bodies themselves to be spurned. (...) For these pertain not to ornament or aid which is applied from without, but to the very nature of man.

Augustine's favourite figure to describe body-soul unity is marriage: caro tua, coniunx tua - your body is your wife. Initially, the two elements were in perfect harmony. After the fall of humanity they are now experiencing dramatic combat between one another.

They are two categorically different things. The body is a three-dimensional object composed of the four elements, whereas the soul has no spatial dimensions. Soul is a kind of substance, participating in reason, fit for ruling the body. Augustine was not preoccupied, as Plato and Descartes were, with going too much into details in efforts to explain the metaphysics of the soul-body union. It suffices for him to admit that they are metaphysically distinct; to be a human is to be a composite of soul and body, and that the soul is superior to the body. The latter statement is grounded in his hierarchical classification of things into those that merely exist, those that exist and live, and those that exist, live, and have intelligence or reason.



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. Astrology played a prominent part in Manichean doctrine, and Augustine himself was attracted by their books in his youth, being particularly fascinated by those who claimed to foretell the future. Later, as a bishop, he used to warn that one should avoid astrologers who combine science and horoscopes. (Augustine's term "mathematici". meaning "astrologers", is sometimes mistranslated as "mathematicians".) According to Augustine, they were not genuine students of Hipparchus or Eratosthenes but "common swindlers":

Hence, a devout Christian must avoid astrologers and all impious soothsayers, especially when they tell you the truth, for fear of leading his soul into error by consorting with demons and entangling himself with the bonds of such association.

— The Literal Meaning of Genesis


Against the Pelagians, Augustine strongly stressed the importance of infant baptism. About the question whether baptism is an absolute necessity for salvation however, Augustine appears to have refined his beliefs during his lifetime, causing some confusion among later theologians about his position. He said in one of his sermons:

"God does not remit sins but to the baptized".

— A Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed, Paragraph 16

This belief was shared by many early Christians.

However, a passage from his City of God, concerning the Apocalypse, may indicate that Augustine did believe in an exception for children born to Christian parents:

"But what shall become of the little ones? For it is beyond all belief that in these days 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."

— City of God, Book 20, Chapter 8


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. One reason for this interpretation is the passage in Sirach 18:1, creavit omni simul ("he created all things at once"), which Augustine took as proof that the days of Genesis 1 had to be taken non-literally. 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.

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 .


Augustine developed his doctrine of the Church principally in reaction to the Donatist sect. He taught that there is one Church, but that within this Church there are two realities, namely, the visible aspect (the institutional hierarchy, the sacraments, and the laity) and the invisible (the souls of those in the Church, who are either dead, sinful members or elect predestined for Heaven). The former is the institutional body established by Christ 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 Church, which is visible and societal, 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 only those in a state of grace were the "true" or "pure" church on earth, and that priests and bishops who were not in a state of grace had no authority or ability to confect the sacraments.

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 and priests of the Church are the successors of the Apostles, and that their authority in the Church is God-given.


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. 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, 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.

Epistemological views

Augustine's intellectual development was shaped by epistemological concerns. His early dialogues (Contra academicos (386) and De Magistro (389)), both written shortly after his conversion to Christianity, reflect his engagement with skeptical arguments and show the development of his doctrine of inner illumination. Augustine also posed the problem of other minds throughout different works, most famously perhaps in On the Trinity (VIII.6.9), and develops what has come to be a standard solution: the argument from analogy to other minds. In contrast to Plato and other earlier philosophers, Augustine recognizes the centrality of testimony to human knowledge and argues that what others tell us can provide knowledge even if we don't have independent reasons to believe their testimonial reports.

Intercession of the Saints

In his book Confessions, Augustine wrote of a peculiar practice of his Christian mother, Monica, in which she "brought to certain oratories, erected in the memory of the saints, offerings of porridge, bread, and wine." When she moved to Milan, the bishop Ambrose forbade her to use the offering of wine, since "it might be an occasion of gluttony for those who were already given to drink". So, Augustine wrote of her:

In place of a basket filled with fruits of the earth, she had learned to bring to the oratories of the martyrs a heart full of purer petitions, and to give all that she could to the poor - so that the communion of the Lord's body might be rightly celebrated in those places where, after the example of his passion, the martyrs had been sacrificed and crowned.

— Confessions 6.2.2

Just war

Augustine was one of the first major theologians to assert that Christians should not be pacifists. He asserted that this was a personal, philosophical stance:

"What is here required is not a bodily action, but an inward disposition. The sacred seat of virtue is the heart"

Nonetheless, he asserted, peacefulness in the face of a grave wrong that could only be stopped by violence would be a sin. Defense of one's self or others could be a necessity, especially when authorized by a legitimate authority:

"The commandment forbidding killing was not broken by those who have waged wars on the authority of God, or those who have imposed the death-penalty on criminals when representing the authority of the state, the justest and most reasonable source of power"

While not breaking down the conditions necessary for war to be just, Augustine nonetheless originated the very phrase, itself, in his work The City of God:

But, say they, the wise man will wage just wars. As if he would not all the rather lament the necessity of just wars, if he remembers that he is a man; for if they were not just he would not wage them, and would therefore be delivered from all wars.

In essence, the pursuit of peace must include the option of fighting to preserve it in the long-term. Such a war could not be preemptive, but defensive, to restore peace.

Thomas Aquinas, centuries later, used the authority of Augustine's arguments in an attempt to define the conditions under which a war could be just:

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.


Although Augustine did not develop an independent Mariology, his statements on Mary surpass in number and depth those of other early writers. 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. Likewise, he affirmed that the Virgin Mary "conceived as virgin, gave birth as virgin and stayed virgin forever".

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 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

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 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.

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

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, who had been inspired by Rufinus of Syria, a disciple of Theodore of Mopsuestia. 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. 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, who taught that the original sin was carnal knowledge. But his struggle to understand the cause of evil in the world started before that, at the age of nineteen. By malum (evil) he understood most of all concupiscence, which he interpreted as a vice dominating person and causing in men and women moral disorder. A. Trape insists that Augustine's personal experience cannot be credited for his doctrine about concupiscence. His marriage experience, though Christian marriage celebration was missing, was exemplary, very normal and by no means specifically sad. As J. Brachtendorf showed, Augustine used Ciceronian Stoic concept of passions, to interpret Paul's doctrine of universal sin and redemption.

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. It is clear that the reason of Augustine's distance towards the affairs of the flesh was different than that of Plotinus, a neo-Platonist who taught that only through disdain for fleshly desire could one reach the ultimate state of mankind. Augustine taught the redemption, i.e. transformation and purification, of the body in the resurrection.

Some authors perceive Augustine's doctrine as directed against human sexuality and attribute his insistence on continence and devotion to God as coming from Augustine's need to reject his own highly sensual nature as described in the Confessions. But in view of his writings it is apparently a misunderstanding. 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 realized 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. The redemption of human sexuality will be, however, fully accomplished only in the resurrection of the body.

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, which he regarded as the passion of both, soul and body, 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 interpreting concupiscence as something more than mere sexual lust, with which some of Augustine's disciples had defined it as later did Luther and Calvin, a doctrine condemned in 1567 by Pope Pius V.

Lutherans and Calvinists suggest that, according to Augustine, human beings are utterly depraved in nature. That humans 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. Augustine's doctrine about the liberum arbitrium or free will and its inability to respond to the will of God without divine grace is interpreted in terms of Predestination: grace is irresistible, results in conversion, and leads to perseverance. The Calvinist 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. 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. He often said that any can be saved if they wish. 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.

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. Augustine taught that sacraments administered outside the Catholic Church, though true sacraments, avail nothing. However, he also stated that baptism, while it does not confer any grace when done outside the Church, does confer grace as soon as one is received into the Catholic Church.


Upholding the early Christian understanding of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Augustine made the following logical observation regarding this sacrament: "Christ was carried in his own hands when, referring to his own body, he said, 'This is my body' . For he carried that body in his hands."

In a sermon addressed to new Christians, Augustine explicitly described the bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ.

I promised you , who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord's Table. . . . That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ.

What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does desire instruction".


Augustine made several statements concerning his views on the limitations of the atonement, such as:

The garden of the Lord's brothers and sisters, includes, yes it includes, it certainly includes not only the roses of martyrs but also the lilies of virgins, and the ivy of married people and the violets of widows. There is absolutely no kind of human beings, dearly beloved, who need to despair of their vocation; Christ suffered for all. It was truly written, it is he "who wishes all men to be saved and to come to the acknowledgment of the truth."

— Sermon 304.2

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

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.

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.'" 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.

— 3.37

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."

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.

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.

Views on Women

Augustine's view of sexual feelings as sinful impacted his view of women. For example he considered a man's erection to be sinful because it did not take place under his conscious control. His solution was to place controls on women to limit their ability to influence men: "Thus the woman, but not the man, should veil herself to prevent her from causing this sinful response in the male."

Augustine viewed women not only as threatening to men, but also as intellectually and morally inferior:

"It is the natural order among people that women serve their husbands and children their parents, because the justice of this lies in (the principle that) the lesser serves the greater . . . This is the natural justice that the weaker brain serve the stronger. This therefore is the evident justice in the relationships between slaves and their masters, that they who excel in reason, excel in power."

"Flesh stands for the woman," he said, "and the spirit for the husband…"

"He concluded that 'the serpent, which represents the enticement to disobedience to God and the preference for selfish desires, first approached Eve, because as a woman she had less rationality and self-control and was closer to the 'lower' or female part of the soul…"

"Adam, on the other hand, was equated with the higher, superior part of the human soul. In fact, his choice to eat the forbidden fruit along with his wife was viewed by Augustine as "an act of kindly companionship, lest she be left alone outside paradise"

"In other words, Augustine believed that sin entered the world because man—the spirit—did not exercise proper authority over the woman—the flesh."

Augustine's views on women were not all negative, however. In his Tractates on the Gospel of John, Augustine, commenting on the Samaritan woman from John 4:1-42, compares the woman to the Church: "'And there came a woman' Figure of the Church not yet justified, but now about to be justified: for this is the subject of the discourse."

Influence on the Role of Women in the Church

The idea that women cannot lead, teach or be a witness can be found in a document called, in Latin, the Decretum Gratiani. According to Raming, the authority of this document rests largely on two sources, Roman law, and the views of the early church fathers—one of the most influential being St. Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo.

The legal situation of women under the Corpus Iuris Canonici (1234 - 1916 AD) has been summed up as follows:

"By a principle of civil law, no woman can exercise a public office. By Church Law women are equally barred from all spiritual functions and offices." "A woman can, therefore, not receive any ecclesiastical ordination. If she receives one, the ordination will not imprint a sacramental character . . . ." "No woman, however saintly she may be, may either preach or teach . . . ." "A wife is under the power of her husband, the husband not under the power of the wife. The husband may punish her. A wife is obliged to follow her husband to wherever he decides to fix his residence." "A woman is bound to greater modesty than a man." "A woman is sooner excused on account of fear than a man. She is dispensed from going to Rome to obtain absolution from an excommunication."

The laws and traditions founded upon St. Augustine's views of sexuality and women continue to exercise considerable influence over church doctrinal positions regarding the role of women in the church: "Augustine remains the classical theologian for the Western Christian tradition. His was a brilliant mind, and his voluminous writings grew from a lifetime of grappling with the relation of the Christian tradition to his own spiritual journey."

Teaching philosophy

Augustine is considered an influential figure in the history of education. A work early in Augustine's writings is De Magistro (the Teacher), which contains insights about education. However, his ideas changed as he found better directions or better ways of expressing his ideas. In the last years of his life Saint Augustine wrote his "Retractationes", reviewing his writings and improving specific texts. Henry Chadwick believes an accurate translation of "retractationes" may be "reconsiderations". Reconsiderations can be seen as an overarching theme of the way Saint Augustine learned. Augustine's understanding of the search for understanding/meaning/truth as a restless journey leaves room for doubt, development and change.

Dr. Gary N. McCloskey, O.S.A., finds four "encounters of learning" in Augustine's approach to education: Through Transforming Experiences; as a Journey in Search of Understanding/Meaning/Truth; Learning with Others in Community; and Building the Habits (Love) of Learning. His emphasis on the importance of community as a means of learning distinguishes his pedagogy from some others. Augustine believed that dialogue/dialectic/discussion is the best means for learning, and this method should serve as a model for learning encounters between teachers and students. Saint Augustine's dialogue writings model the need for lively interactive dialogue among learners.

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.

Augustine introduced 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. Augustine balanced his teaching philosophy with the traditional Bible-based practice of strict discipline.

List of works (books, letters and sermons)

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."

Saint Augustine

On Christian Doctrine (Latin: De doctrina Christiana, 397-426)

Confessions (Confessiones, 397-398)

The City of God (De civitate Dei, begun c. 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 (c. 426-428) Augustine revisited his previous works in chronological order. 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 )

To Quodvultdeus, On Heresies (De haeresibus ad Quodvultdeum)

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 )

Acts or Disputation Against Fortunatus the Manichaean ( contra Fortunatum )

Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental (Contra epistulam Manichaei quam vocant fundamenti)

Reply to Faustus the Manichaean (Contra Faustum )

Concerning the Nature of Good, Against the Manichaeans (De natura boni contra Manichaeos)

On Baptism, Against the Donatists (De baptismo )

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)

Against the Academics (Contra Academicos)

Sermons, among which a series on selected lessons of the New Testament

Homilies, among which a series on the First Epistle of John


English translations of Augustine's work abound. One of the best translations of Augustine into English currently available is the one offered by New City Press in the series The Works of St. Augustine: A translation for the 21st Century. To date, this is also the most complete translation of Augustine's works in English. The second most complete translation of Augustine's works in English is by the Catholic University of America Press. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy offers a list of selected translations, which however does not claim to be exhaustive.

In popular culture

Augustine was played by Dary Berkani in the 1972 television movie Augustine of Hippo. He was also played by Franco Nero in the 2010 mini-series Augustine: The Decline of the Roman Empire. The modern day name links to the Agostinelli Family.

Jostein Gaarder's book Vita Brevis is a translation of a letter Gaarder found in a bookshop in Buenos Aires which is assumed to be a letter from Augustine's concubine to him after he became the Bishop of Hippo. St. Augustine appears in the novel The Dalkey Archive by Flann O'Brian (the pen name of Irish Author Brian O'Nolan). He is summoned to an underwater cavern by an absurd scientist called De Selby; together they discuss life in Heaven and the characters of other Saints. Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s novel A Canticle for Leibowitz cites St. Augustine as possibly positing the first version of a theory of evolution.

Bob Dylan recorded a song entitled "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" on his album John Wesley Harding. Pop artist Sting pays an homage of sorts to Augustine's struggles with lust with the song "Saint Augustine in Hell" which appears on the singer's 1993 album Ten Summoner's Tales. Christian Rock artist Disciple named their fourth track on their 2010 release Horseshoes and Handgrenades after Augustine, called: "The Ballad of St. Augustine". The song "St. Augustine" appears on Girlyman's album, Supernova. American rock band Moe named and referenced Augustine of Hippo in their song entitled, "St. Augustine."

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Title: New Hand Carved Marble or Wood Statue of Augustine
Item Number: KRNM-714
KRNM-714: New Hand Carved Marble or Wood Statue of Augustine. Finishes and colors to your specifications. Dimensions: Available in sizes 3 feet and taller. Call for prici...
Title: St. Augustine Statue
Item Number: KRDOM-420
KRDOM-420: St. Augustine Statue This statue is available in resin or bronze. Resin statues are available in faux marble, bronze, silver (color added to composite-suitabl...