New to Augustine?


First Look 


Who Was Augustine?

Aurelius Augustinus, known to us now as St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, was one of the world's most influential persons. He was born in 354 in Roman North Africa. Trained in rhetoric, he taught the discipline in Milan until his conversion to Christianity in 386. In 391 he became a priest, and then the bishop of Hippo in 395. As bishop, he judged civil cases, preached sermons, and wrote theological treatises until his death in 430.   [full biography]

Why does Augustine matter?

  • Theologians regard Augustine as the most important ancient figure for Western Christendom. He contributed to the doctrines of the Trinity, the church, the sacraments, free will, predestination, grace, and original sin. 
  • Philosophers study Augustine for his views on the soul, his theory of language, his political theory, and his articulation of just war theory.
  • His Confessions is considered the first autobiography, though it is cast in the form of a prayer confessing Augustine's sinfulness and God's grace.

Introductory Materials

1. Encyclopedia Articles

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

"Life, Culture, and Controversies" in Augustine Through The Ages 
(Villanova University students can access this article online)

2. Introductory Books

Augustine and His World by Andrew Knowles and Pachomios Penkett

Augustine of Hippo: A Life by Henry Chadwick