References

Augustine
A philosophical biography from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Very good source.

Philosophy of Augustine
An extensive resource from the Radical Academy.

Augustine on Evil
by Gregory Koukl
A very interesting, accessible, and brief article from a Christian perspective. I strongly recommend that you read this as it makes one aspect of Augustine's influence quite clear.

Augustine of Hippo
Something of a fan site for Augustine aficionados. There is a lot of material here, including Augustine's major texts (in Latin, even.) Use this selectively to investigate what people are saying about Augustine today.

Just War Theory
Resources and case studies based on just war theory.

 

Augustine

"Understand so that you may believe, believe so that you may understand." [On the Gospel of John, 29.6; Sermon CXVII.I]

Aurelius Augustinus (St. Augustine) lived in the Roman Empire from 354 to 430 A.D. In 386 he converted to Christianity from the pagan Machanean religion. He was a teacher of rhetoric and became the Bishop of the city of Hippo. His Confessions, The City of God, and Enchiridion are among the most influential works of Western thought.

Augustine's work in metaphysics, ethics, and politics remain important today. Key among these accomplishments are his metaphysical analysis of time, his ethical analysis of the evil, and his examination of the conditions for justified war.

Augustine's most profound impact, however, comes from his interpretation of Christianity. In 400 C. E., Christianity was barely four centuries years old, far younger than some competing religions and not unified in its own doctrine. Augustine produced a sophisticated interpretation of Christian thinking by merging it with the philosophy of Plato and Neoplatonism. With this merger of ideas, Christianity takes on the idea of God as an independent, immaterial reality - the transcendent God. This idea of God is so familiar to many of us now that it may seem odd to think of God in any other way. Still, it was Augustine's appropriation of Plato's two-level view of reality that produced the mysterious non-material God who exists outside of all space and time (e.g. is infinite and eternal).

Certainly, other people including Christians had expressed such metaphysical conceptions of God before, but Augustine brought to Christianity an intellectual account and body of reasoned arguments to ground these ideas. The overarching point here is that Augustine applied philosophical analysis and reasoning to the issues of religion. Mere belief without questioning and truth seeking were not sufficient for a genuine faith. For him, believing and understanding were interrelated states of mind.

The bottom line is this: if you identify yourself as Christian, then familiarity with Augustine's thought is crucial to knowing the sources of your beliefs; if you recognize Christianity as an important factor in Western culture and world history, then knowing about Augustine is vital to understanding how it came to be.

Next - learn more about Augustine's analysis of faith  link to Augustine on faith

 

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