Humans existed for millennia without science. During this time the world was generally regarded as the stage for supernatural forces. Myths and religious ideas explained the natural world.
To… Life overview Augustine was born in Tagaste, a modest Roman community in a river valley 40 miles 64 km from the Mediterranean coast in Africa, near the point where the veneer of Roman civilization thinned out in the highlands of Numidia. They managed, sometimes on borrowed money, to acquire a first-class education for Augustine, and, although he had at least one brother and one sister, he seems to have been the only child sent off to be educated.
He studied first in Tagaste, then in the nearby university town of Madauros, and finally at Carthagethe great city of Roman Africa. After a brief stint teaching in Tagaste, he returned to Carthage to teach rhetoricthe premier science for the Roman gentleman, and he was evidently very good at it.
While still at Carthage, he wrote a short philosophical book aimed at displaying his own merits and advancing his career; unfortunately, it is lost. At the age of 28, restless and ambitious, Augustine left Africa in to make his career in Rome.
He taught there briefly before landing a plum appointment as imperial professor of rhetoric at Milan. The customary residence of the emperor at the time, Milan was the de facto capital of the Western Roman Empire and the place where careers were best made.
Augustine tells us that he, and the many family members with him, expected no less than a provincial governorship as the eventual—and lucrative—reward for his merits. After only two years there, he resigned his teaching post and, after some soul-searching and apparent idleness, made his way back to his native town of Tagaste.
There he passed the time as a cultured squire, looking after his family propertyraising the son, Adeodatus, left him by his long-term lover her name is unknown taken from the lower classes, and continuing his literary pastimes.
The death of that son while still an adolescent left Augustine with no obligation to hand on the family property, and so he disposed of it and found himself, at age 36, literally pressed into service against his will as a junior clergyman in the coastal city of Hippo, north of Tagaste.
The transformation was not entirely surprising. Augustine had always been a dabbler in one form or another of the Christian religionand the collapse of his career at Milan was associated with an intensification of religiosity.
All his writings from that time onward were driven by his allegiance to a particular form of Christianity both orthodox and intellectual. His unique gift was the ability to write at a high theoretical level for the most-discerning readers and still be able to deliver sermons with fire and fierceness in an idiom that a less-cultured audience could admire.
Hippo was a trading city, without the wealth and culture of Carthage or Rome, and Augustine was never entirely at home there. He would travel to Carthage for several months of the year to pursue ecclesiastical business in an environment more welcoming to his talents than that of his adopted home city.
The style of the rhetorician carried over in his ecclesiastical persona throughout his career. He was never without controversies to fight, usually with others of his own religion. In his years of rustication and early in his time at Hippo, he wrote book after book attacking Manichaeisma Christian sect he had joined in his late teens and left 10 years later when it became impolitic to remain with them.
For the next 20 years, from the s to the s, he was preoccupied with the struggle to make his own brand of Christianity prevail over all others in Africa.
The native African Christian tradition had fallen afoul of the Christian emperors who succeeded Constantine reigned — and was reviled as schismatic; it was branded with the name of Donatism after Donatusone of its early leaders.
Augustine and his chief colleague in the official church, Bishop Aurelius of Carthage, fought a canny and relentless campaign against it with their books, with their recruitment of support among church leaders, and with careful appeal to Roman officialdom. In the reigning emperor sent an official representative to Carthage to settle the quarrel.
A public debate held in three sessions during June 1—8 and attended by hundreds of bishops on each side ended with a ruling in favour of the official church.
Even then, approaching his 60th year, Augustine found—or manufactured—a last great challenge for himself. Taking offense at the implications of the teachings of a traveling society preacher named PelagiusAugustine gradually worked himself up to a polemical fever over ideas that Pelagius may or may not have espoused.
Other churchmen of the time were perplexed and reacted with some caution to Augustine, but he persisted, even reviving the battle against austere monks and dignified bishops through the s.
At the time of his death, he was at work on a vast and shapeless attack on the last and most urbane of his opponents, the Italian bishop Julian of Eclanum. Through these years, Augustine had carefully built for himself a reputation as a writer throughout Africa and beyond.
His careful cultivation of selected correspondents had made his name known in GaulSpainItalyand the Middle Eastand his books were widely circulated throughout the Mediterranean world.
In his last years he compiled a careful catalog of his books, annotating them with bristling defensiveness to deter charges of inconsistency. He had opponents, many of them heated in their attacks on him, but he usually retained their respect by the power and effectiveness of his writing.
His fame notwithstanding, Augustine died a failure. When he was a young man, it was inconceivable that the Pax Romana could fall, but in his last year he found himself and his fellow citizens of Hippo prisoners to a siege laid by a motley army of invaders who had swept into Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar.
The Vandals, holders to a more fiercely particularist version of the Christian creed than any of those Augustine had lived with in Africa, would rule in Africa for a century, until Roman forces sent from Constantinople invaded again and overthrew their regime. A revival of orthodox Christianity in the 6th century under the patronage of Constantinople was brought to an end in the 7th century with the Islamic invasions that permanently removed North Africa from the sphere of Christian influence until the thin Christianization of French colonialism in the 19th century.
Augustine survived in his books. His habit of cataloging them served his surviving collaborators well. The story was told that his mortal remains went to Sardinia and thence to Pavia Italywhere a shrine concentrates reverence on what is said to be those remains.
The story of his early life is exceedingly well known—better known than that of virtually any other Greek or Roman worthy. Yet it is a story told with a sophisticated purpose, highly selective in its choice of incident and theological in its structure.Augustine (— C.E.) St.
Augustine is a fourth century philosopher whose groundbreaking philosophy infused Christian doctrine with Neoplatonism. He is famous for being an inimitable Catholic theologian and for his agnostic contributions to Western philosophy.
If you're passionate about English language and literature, an English major is a natural choice. This program will prepare you for successful and creative careers in literary writing, academics, journalism, law, and the communications industry.
Structurally, the Confessions falls into three segments: Books 1 through 9 recount Augustine's life and his spiritual journey. Book 10 is a discussion of the nature of memory and an examination of the temptations Augustine was still facing.
Augustine’s Worldview Augustine’s thought is typically considered eudaemonist, but his relationship to eudaimonism is complex (Herdt ; Wetzel ; Wolterstorff Ch. 8; see eudaimonism). He supported the ancient consensus that our ultimate end is hap- piness. Dec 02, · Augustine Medical, Inc. Introduction (Background and Situation) Augustine Medical, Inc.
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