AUGUSTINE of Hippo

AUGUSTINE of Hippo 354430 I. Life – II. The man – III. His thought. I. Life. What we know about his life derives from his first confessions or Dialogues of Cassiciacum De b. vita 4; C. Acad. 2,2,3-6; De ord. 1,2,5; 1,10,29; 2,10,52; Solil. 1,1,2-6; from the Confessions, his most famous work, of definite value autobiographically, as well as theologically, philosophically, mystically and literarily; from his last confessions or Retractations, written toward the end of his life 426427, rich in documentary, theological and autobiographical information. His Discourses 355 and 356 tell us of the daily life that he conducted in the domo episcopi. Possidius’s Life of St. Augustine describes Augustine’s life and habits as a bishop with historical sense and a sober style. What we know of his writings derives from the Retractations, an original work containing an examination of conscience or critical revision of all his works opuscula in libris, of which he indicates the theme, chronological order, corrections to be made or interpretation to be given he did not have time to review the opuscula in epistolis letters and the opuscula in tractatibus sermons; from Possidius’s Indiculum, incomplete and here and there imprecise, but invaluable; and from the manuscripts themselves, which have nearly all survived, despite their quantity and size. From these sources we can reconstruct his life and record his writings.

From birth to conversion 354386. Born at Thagaste Numidia, 13 November 354, the son perhaps eldest of Patricius, a small landowner and town councilor, and of Monica, a very pious Christian. Had a brother, Navigius, and a sister, name unknown. He was Roman in language, culture and feeling, if not by descent; he studied at Thagaste, Madaura and Carthage. Augustine taught rhetoric at Carthage, then at Rome and Milan. He mastered Latin language and culture, but did not know Greek well, and understood little or no Punic. Given a Christian education, in intention he always remained a Christian.

At 19, reading the Hortensius of Cicero, he converted to the love of wisdom, which, disappointed with the Scriptures, he sought shortly thereafter with the Manichees, for three basic reasons: for the wisdom that they promised to teach by reason alone, without recourse to the authority of faith; for their adherence to Christ, whose disciples they claimed to be; and for their radical solution to the problem of evil. In a matter of days he became a fierce antiCatholic and a faithful Manichee. Though not without reservations, he accepted Mani’s method, piety and metaphysical presuppositions: materialism, dualism and pantheism. Discovering after nine years the weakness of the Manichean system, he turned to skepticism: his movement of separation from the Catholic faith, begun on rationalist pretexts, thus ended with an act of distrust in reason. His road of return began at Milan, aged 32. Ambrose’s preaching restored his trust in Catholic teaching on the interpretation of Scripture and revealed to him the spiritual notion of the soul and of God. He overcame skepticism, recognizing its error in method not reason or faith, but reason and faith and accepting the authority of the church, guarantor and interpreter of Scripture, as the north star to which to entrust himself. He overcame materialism by discovering, with the help of the Platonists, the interior light and the true notion of evil. He overcame naturalism and resolved the new problem that had arisen for him, that of mediation by reading St. Paul and recognizing in Jesus Christ the Mediator of grace and the Redeemer. With that, his return to the Catholic faith was complete. With the restoration of faith, however, the problem that first arose at 19 reasserted itself, of the concrete way to live out the search for wisdom, or to live by now the same thing for Augustine the Christian ideal. After hesitation and struggles, he decided to abandon every earthly aspiration, including marriage, and to consecrate himself totally to that ideal Conf. 8,6,1312,30. Augustine’s conversion has been much discussed during the past century. From these studies I believe it must be concluded, if one wishes to remain faithful to the sources, that: 1 the Confessions also have historical value, though in them the narrative facts which are different from those in the Dialogues must be distinguished from the judgment of the narrator, who is Augustine, by now a bishop; 2 the conversion was to the Catholic faith, or rather a return to it, seen not in contrast but in harmony with the goal of wisdom indicated by the Platonists; 3 that adherence to the characteristic motif of the faith and the authority of the church took place prior to his reading of those philosophers, even though its content was still vague and fluctuating beyond any reasonable measure of doctrine Conf. 7, 5, 7; 4 the reading of the Platonicorum libri in spring 386 led to Augustine’s discovery of Neoplatonic spiritualism, which allowed him to overcome the materialistic conception of God and the soul, as well as the notion of a substantive evil he inherited from his Manichean experience. But it was his later reading of St. Paul, with valuable clarifications by the priest Simplicianus, which led him to know Christ’s divine and human nature and the soteriological significance of his sacrifice.

His conversion to Christ was completed, then, at the beginning of the month of August, when he decided to consecrate himself completely to Christ, renouncing worldly hopes and marriage. From conversion to priesthood 386391. The academic year being over, Augustine finally found the time and the means to read books by Christian authors such as Marius Victorinus and Ambrose, which helped him to deepen his Christian faith, as is shown by the dialogues written at Cassiciacum probably modern Cassago in the last months of the year. In March 387 he left his retreat at Cassiciacum to return to Milan, where he followed Ambrose’s catechesis and was baptized by him on the Holy Saturday night, 2425 April. He decided to return to Africa with his family to put into effect there the holy purpose of living together in the service of God. His mother died at Ostia during the trip and he returned to Rome, where he stayed for 8-10 months, taking interest in the monastic life, leaving again for Africa after July or August 388 death of the usurper Maximus, establishing himself at Thagaste, where with those united with him, he lived for God and taught those present and absent with discourses and books Possidius. He wrote numerous books at Cassiciacum, Milan, Rome and Thagaste, all but two on Christian philosophy. The arguments are on the following topics: certainty Acad., blessedness Beat., the order of things and evil Ord., the immortality of the soul Solil. and Immort. an., the greatness of the soul Quant. an., evil and free will Lib., an encyclopedia of the liberal arts Disc., which concluded the De grammatica lost and the De musica on rhythm. He also wrote two works against the Manichees: a comparison between Catholic and Manichee doctrines on morals Mor. eccl. cath. et de mor. Man. and an allegorical interpretation of Genesis Gen. Man.. Later, ca. 390, he wrote the short masterpiece on true religion, De vera religione, which contains in seminal form many ideas of the City of God. From priesthood to episcopate 391396. In 391 he went down to Hippo to look for a place to found a monastery and to live with my brothers Serm. 355,2 and was there surprised by the priesthood, which he accepted reluctantly so as to not oppose the divine will. He founded a monastery and lived there according to plan, as a priest and monk, in asceticism and study according to the manner and the rule established at the time of the apostles Possidius, 5. By the bishop’s will, and contrary to African practice, he carried out the task of preaching Ep. 21. In 395, or 396 according to others, he was consecrated coadjutor bishop, and by 397 had sole direction of the diocese. He then left the monastery of the laymen, which became a seminary of priests and bishops for all of Africa Possidius, 11, and withdrew in domo episcopi, which he made into a monastery, the monastery of the clerics of Hippo see Serm. 355 and 356. To complete his theological formation, which he recognized as imperfect Ep. 21, he immersed himself in the study of Scripture and the Fathers. He confronted the problem of the credibility of the Catholic faith Util. cred., gave an important address on faith and the creed before a council of totius Africae Fide symb., concerned himself with morality and biblical spirituality Serm. Dom. and also, with little success, with Pauline soteriology Exp. Gal., Ep. Rom. inch. and Genesis Gen. imp.. In the meantime he continued the Manichean controversy through the dispute with Fortunatus Fort. and two works: De duabus an. and Contra Adimantum Man.; he also entered the Donatist controversy with a popular song Psal. Don. and a lost work: Contra Ep. Donati see Retract. 1,21. From episcopate to death 396430. Augustine’s pastoral and literary activity increased with the episcopate, as did his understanding of Christian doctrine. His pastoral activity concerned 1 the church of Hippo, to which he belonged and felt attached: preaching twice a week Saturday and Sunday and often for more days in succession, even twice a day, the audientia episcopalis which could last the entire day, care of the poor and orphans, formation of clergy, organization of monasteries of men and women, administration of ecclesiastical goods a task not loved but tolerated, visits to the sick; 2 the African church: participation at annual councils, frequent trips at the invitation of colleagues or to respond to ecclesiastical needs; 3 universal church: dogmatic controversies, replies to enquiries, book after book on the widest variety of questions proposed to him and imposed on him. As bishop he continued the controversy with the Manicheans: he refuted the prologue of Mani’s so-called fundamental letter Fund.; disputed with Felix on creation and on the origin of evil Fel. Man.; wrote on the ontological goodness of things Nat. bon.; responded to Faustus on the harmony between the OT and NT Faust., to Secundinus on the immutability of God, the nature of evil and creation ex nihilo Secund., which Augustine thought to be his best anti-Manichean work Retract. 1,10. He also continued the Donatist controversy, demonstrating the historical and theological inconsistency of the schism and responding to its defenders: Parmenian Parmen., Petilian C. litt. Petil., Cresconius Cresc.; he clarified the validity of baptism administered by heretics Bapt.; proved the universal unity of the church with biblical texts Unit. eccles.; was the soul of the great Catholic-Donatist debate of 411, summarizing its Acts afterward Brev. coll. and launching an appeal to the Donatists for unity Don., a great work, written with much care, the best of all: Retract. 2,40; wrote a manual for count Boniface on the history of Donatism, the intervention of imperial laws, the goodness of the church that calls back and receives those in error De corrept. Donatistarum = Ep. 185. If success smiled on his labors, it was because he knew what he wanted and had recourse to the necessary means; he knew how to enlist the necessary allies and to draw them after him in the victorious campaign of which he was the soul Monceaux. The Donatist controversy was not over when the Pelagian controversy began. Augustine was not the first or only to intervene, but his stringent, positive, persevering criticism was decisive for the fate of Pelagianism De Plinval. The controversy naturally divides into two periods, one expository, the other polemical. In the former, the tone is calm and friendly, without mention of names or, if mentioned, with expressions of esteem; in the latter the tone is sharper, especially toward the end. The first, fundamental work, expounds the theology of redemption and baptism, of original sin and grace, and responds to the Pelagians’ difficulties Pecc. merit.; the second, also fundamental, explains the relations between the law letter and grace spirit and clarifies the concept of Christian freedom Spir. litt.. He then responded, without naming him, to Pelagius’s De natura, demonstrating that, so as not to render vain the cross of Christ, not only must nature be defended but also the grace that heals and frees nature Nat. grat.; he also responded to Caelestius’s Definitiones, denying the impeccantia and maintaining the imperfection of human justice, even among saints Perf.. After Pelagius’s absolution by the Synod of Palestine, Augustine, the Acts in hand, wrote a work Gest. Pelag. in which he showed that Pelagius had been absolved but Pelagianism condemned. Shortly thereafter he intervened to clarify the equivocation by which the Pelagians spoke of grace and original sin Grat. Chr.. He also wrote 4 books to clarify the errors of the young bishop Victor and to defend his own oscillation between creationism and spiritual traducianism An. orig.. With the condemnation of Pelagianism by Zosimus’s tractoria, the polemical phase began, which lasted from Contra duas Ep. Pel. and De nuptiis et concupiscentia to the two responses to Julian of Eclanum: the 6 books of Contra Iulianum and the 6 of Contra secundam Iuliani responsionem, the latter work unfinished because of his death. Another controversy related to the Pelagian controversy arose among the monks of Hadrumetum Africa and Marseille Gaul, on the questions of gracefreedom and predestination. Augustine responded to the first question with De gratia et libero arbitrio, in which he showed from Scripture the need to hold firm two truths, freedom and grace; and with De correptione et gratia a key work in the Augustinian system, in which he treats of the themes of predestination and the efficacy of grace, different before and after original sin. To the second he responded with De praedestinatione sanctorum and De dono perseverantiae, in which he demonstrated that the beginning of faith and final perseverance are gifts of God. Besides these controversial works there were many others: exegetical, moral, pastoral, philosophical-theological. Among the exegetical works: De doctrina christiana, important for the principles of hermeneutics and sacred preaching and the dogmatic synthesis based on uti use and frui enjoyment; De bono coniugali and De sancta virginitate on the relation between the goodness of marriage and the excellence of consecrated virginity; De catechizandis rudibus, a manual of catechesis rich in pedagogical insight; De fide et operibus, on the relation between faith and works; Contra mendacium, on the inadmissability of lying; De cura pro mortuis gerenda, on the veneration of the dead; De opere monachorum, on the duty of manual labor for monks not occupied with study or the priestly apostolate, etc. Among the philosophical-theological works, other than the manual of dogmatics Enchiridion ad Laurentium and the treatises on the vision of God De videndo Deo = Ep. 147 and the presence of God De praesentia Dei = Ep. 187, his three famous works were Confessions, De Trinitate and City of God. Less celebrated but no less important was De Genesi ad litteram. It has been said of Augustine’s most famous work, the Confessions, that it is fascinating not only because of its autobiographical and literary value but also for its reflections on evil, the creation, time, grace and the soul’s journey to God. De Trinitate, Augustine’s main dogmatic work, has exercised a decisive influence on Western trinitarian theology. For theological and spiritual purposes it expounds the biblical doctrine, the theory of relations, the psychological explanation of man as the image of the Trinity, the personal properties of the Holy Spirit, the love and communion of the Father and the Son.

The City of God, his masterpiece, is an apologetical and dogmatic work in 2 parts, 5 sections and 22 books. Augustine responds to pagan accusations by expounding the Christian doctrine on the beginning, progress and eternal destinies of the two cities, which are founded on two loves of self and of God that are mingled in the historical process but separated in the eternal abode. Finally, the 12 books of De Genesi ad litteram, important for the explanation of the first three chapters of Genesis, as well as for its anthropological doctrine books 6, 7, 10, the theory of simultaneous creation and that of seminal ideas. To these works should be added his correspondence on the most varied arguments: philosophical, theological, exegetical, historical, spiritual, autobiographical; the Maurist edition includes 270 Letters 52 to Augustine and 9 from him included in the opuscula in libris; later another 6 were published, and more recently another 29 in CSEL 88; also discourses, in three groups: Tractates on the Gospel of John 124 treatises on the gospel, 10 on 1 John; Expositions of the Psalms a huge work rich in spiritual doctrine, the only complete patristic exposition of the Psalms; the Sermons proper, the fruit of almost 40 years of preaching, with biblical, liturgical, hagiographical and other content. Of perhaps three or four thousand, only ca. 570 survive, including new discoveries. Augustine died at Hippo 28 August 430. II. The man. In evaluating this prodigious activity we must bear in mind that Augustine was at once a philosopher, theologian, mystic, poet, orator, polemicist, writer and pastor, qualities which complemented one another and made of him a man to whom no one, or certainly very few, can be compared among those who have flourished from the beginning of the human race until today Pius XI. He is a philosopher, indeed the creator of Christian philosophy, but not a cold thinker: he knows the ways of the spirit and describes them with depth and passion; a theologian who brought about great progress in understanding Christian dogmas trinitarian, christological, soteriological, ecclesiological, sacramental, eschatological but who possesses a profound sense of the tradition and full submission to the Catholica; a mystic who is also a pastor; a master who considers himself a disciple, indeed, a codisciple of Christ with the faithful; with a hunger to know Scripture, all of Scripture, quae Christum narrat et dilectionem monet De cat. rud. 4,8: after reading it in and according to the church’s living and praying tradition, he desires to expound it faithfully and clearly, intent on saying nothing of his own, convinced that to do so would be to speak falsehood De Trin. 15, 28, 51; In Jo. Ev. tr. 5, 1. He loved to debate within the church, where the only victory must be that of truth ubi victoria veritas: Civ. Dei 2, 29, 2, debating with holy humility, with Catholic peace, with Christian charity Bapt. 2, 3, 4. The Catholic Church has always considered Augustine one of its greatest doctors. Celestine I defended his memory, numbering him among the greatest teachers, as have many other popes to our day. Many councils Orange, Trent, Vatican I and Vatican II have drawn widely on his doctrine and on his words themselves, showing that the doctrine was not Augustine’s but the church’s, and thus the church recognizes it as its own. Theologians not least St. Thomas Aquinas have always given great attention to his teaching. It is true he has been inter preted variously, but this is less a sign of obscurity than of interpreters being guided by the interests of the moment or of the objective difficulty of the problems. Augustine is not an obscure author, but neither is he an easy one, for many reasons: depth of thought, quantity of works, diversity of language, the unsystematic nature and evolution of his doctrine. Only those who manage to overcome all these difficulties will find the real Augustine, who is always alive in his works Possidius, Life 31,8. In any case, the teaching of the Catholic Church, of which he wanted to be a humble interpreter Quid sum? Numquid Catholica ego sum? Sufficit mihi ut in ea sim: Enarr. in ps. 36, s. 3,19, remains the best key for understanding his thought. III. His thought. Even a rapid synthesis would be impossible in this setting. A few lines must suffice, under three headings: philosophical, theological, spiritual. Philosophical. The first problem that Augustine studied and resolved was that of the relation between reason and faith, the two forces that lead us to knowledge Acad. 3, 20, 43; Ord. 2, 9, 26; Mor. eccl. cath. 1, 2, 3. The solution is summed up in the dual maxim: crede ut intellegas and intellege ut credas Serm. 43,9. The first is based on the difficulty and multiplicity of the problems that must be resolved in order to give life a sure and wise orientation; the second, on the fact that no one believes unless he has first thought that he must believe Praed. 2, 5, and indeed it is reason that shows us who we must believe Ver. rel. 24,45. Assured of the collaboration between reason and faith, he studied the great themes of human thought, which he reduced to two God and man Solil. 1, 2, 7 and created Christian philosophy C. Iul. 4, 14, 77, which is both philosophy and something new: new with respect to the philosophy of the Platonists, whom he preferred Acad. 3, 20, 43; Ver. rel. 4,7; Civ. Dei 8,5; 11,5, but whose great errors he opposed Retract. 1, 1, 4, esp. those regarding creation Civ. Dei 11,4-5; 12,15-20, the preexistence of the soul Gen. litt. 10, 15, 27; Ep. 164 and 166, the unnatural and violent union of the soul with the body Trin. 15,7,11; Gen. litt. 7,27, 38; An. orig. 4, 2, 3, and the cyclical and metempsychotic theory of history Civ. Dei 10,30; 12,26 that he considered the magna deliramenta of these great philosophers Serm. 241,6. Certain scriptural teachings touching on reason also served to stimulate his philosophical research: the creation of things and of man in God’s image Gen 1:1; 1:27; Jn 1:3; the notion of God as subsistent being Ego sum qui sum: Ex 3:14; the knowability of the Creator through creatures Rom 1:20. Augustine has three principles: 1 interiority, on which he insists in order to affirm the perception of truth by the mind truth lives in the inner man: Ver.. rel. 39,72 and guarantee certainty Si fallor, sum: Civ. Dei 11,26; 2 the participation from which he derives creation Every good is either God or proceeds from God: Ver. rel. 18,35 and divine exemplarism Individual things have been created according to their particular ideas: Div. quaest. 83, q. 46,2; 3 immutability, which distinguishes creatures from the Creator, since the only true, genuine, authentic being is immutable being Serm. 7,7; Conf. 7, 11, 17, the ipsum esse Trin. 5, 2, 3, everything changeable is created: The heavens and the earth proclaim that they have been created, mutantur enim atque variantur Conf. Enlightened by these principles Augustine studied the themes of God and humanity, the former so as to understand the latter God is the cause of being, the light of knowledge, the source of love: Civ. Dei 8,4, and the latter so as to understand the former. Indeed, he ascended to God starting from the human, who is, thinks and loves and therefore through a threefold way: of being, knowledge and love, and illustrated the mystery of the Trinity by studying its image in human nature Trin. 8-15. Human nature is the great abyss, whose depths he scrutinizes Conf. 10, 8, 10-17, 26, and the great problem, esp. because of the presence of evil, the solution to which he seeks through reason and, not finding this complete or satisfactory, through faith. His point of departure is the composition of soul and body, which is profound Gen.litt. 7, 27, 38, even mysterious Ep. 137, 3, 11, and constitutes humanity. In general the great problems of Augustinian philosophy, imposed by human nature, are three, with three great solutions: creation, illumination and beatitude. Augustine develops and defends these against the errors of the Platonists: 1 creation ex nihilo and freedom in time, 2 illumination not recollection that gives ideas their certainty and universal value, 3 beatitude that, by its nature if it is not eternal, it is not beatitude, excludes the cyclical idea of the Platonists. Theological. Augustine’s theological thought follows a method that includes adherence to the magisterial authority of Christ, the desire to know the content of the faith intellectum valde ama: Ep. 120, 3, 13, the sense of mystery better a faithful ignorance than a rash knowledge: Serm. 27,4, and the conviction of the originality of Christianity, i.e., of the depositio fidei which must be preserved and, if necessary, defended. The authority of Christ, then, is manifested 1 in Scripture, which is the soul of the ology; 2 in the tradition, which is apostolic if universal and ancient Bapt. 4, 24, 31; and 3 in the church, which fixes the canon of Scripture I would not believe in the gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not lead me to so do: C. Ep. Man. 5,6; Faust. 28,2, transmits the tradition and interprets both. Guided by this method Augustine deepened his understanding of the Christian mysteries, bringing about a great advance in dogma. As we cannot summarize all of his thought here, we will focus on ecclesiology and soteriology, two mysteries to the understanding of which his contribution was greatest. In the Donatist controversy and in the City of God he developed the notion of the church as 1 a community of the faithful built on the foundation of the apostles; 2 a community of righteous pilgrims in the world, from Abel until the end of time; and 3 a community of the predestined, living in blessed immortality. The first is the communio sacramentorum in which, under the guidance of the bishops Serm. 146,1, the councils Ep. 54,1 and the Sedes Petri Ep. 43,7, the good and the bad are united, the holiness of the former not being contaminated by the latter, although the sacraments, by their christological nature, are also valid, though not fruitful, outside the true church. The second is the communio iustorum, which was also present before Christ, but not without Christ, in eschatological tension. The third is the communio praedestinatorum, consisting of those who constitute God’s glorious kingdom, but also now, the church is the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven Civ. Dei 20, 9, 1. In the Pelagian controversy he developed the theology of redemption, justification and actual grace, as well as that of death, concupiscence, infant baptism and human solidarity with Adam and with Christ. The key to understanding his doctrine is the cross of Christ, the significance and efficacy of which he wanted to defend: ne evacuetur crux Christi 1 Cor 1:17. Of redemption, which is necessary because without Christ the Redeemer no one has been or ever would be freed; objective because it does not consist only in an example but also in the expiation of sins and reconciliation with God; universal from the fact that all without exception have been redeemed, he deduces the universality and the nature of original sin, which does not consist in imitation, as the Pelagians claimed, but in propagation, and is transmitted to all with human nature itself, which is in a state of decadence because of the sin of the first man Pecc. merit. 1, 9, 9-10. For this reason all people need to be justified in Christ. Justification brings about the remission of sins, which is plena et tota, tota et perfecta Pecc. merit. 2, 7, 9, and interior renewal, which begins here on earth and becomes perfect after the resurrection, when not only sin but also mortality and infirmity will cease C. duas Ep. Pel. 3, 3, 4-5. But to attain justification and persevere in it, we need divine grace, which consists not in creation, even if this can be called grace, nor only in the divine law or the remission of sins, but in the inspiration of charity by which we do with love what we know we ought to do C. duas epp. Pel. 4, 5, 11. Augustine defends the necessity, efficacy and gratuity of grace understood in this way. He teaches us to defend freedom and grace because Christ, according to the Scriptures, is both Savior and judge; he insists that we must hold both of these truths even when we we don’t see their harmony, which is a difficult question for all and understandable by few; he points to the sweet liberality of love as the way to reconcile them: grace is not irresistible to the will but helps the will to resist temptation. Finally, on the mystery of predestination, the depth of which he appreciates, he highlights the gratuity of salvation, of which the shining example is the Savior himself, the man Christ Jesus Praed. 15,30; Persev. 24,67: both the beginning of faith and final perseverance are gifts of God. Regarding those who are not saved he holds 1 that sins are the object of divine foreknowledge, not of predestination An. orig. 1, 7, 7; Praed. 5. 10, 19; 2 that Christ died for all, including those not saved; 3 that God does not abandon if he is not abandoned Solil. 1, 1, 5; Conf. 4, 9, 14; Nat. gr. 26,29; Civ. Dei 13, 15; etc.; 4 that if God, in whom there is no iniquity Rom 9:14, can save everyone without merit, he cannot condemn anyone who does not deserve it C. Iul. 3, 18, 36; Ep. 194, 6, 30; Civ. Dei 12,27. To understand the Augustinian doctrine of predestination one must consider all its aspects, including pastoral, and view it apart from the Scholastic disputes, which considered it under a different paradigm. Spiritual. Augustine influenced our understanding of the Christian life no less than theology, in a deep and ongoing manner: he defended its foundations theology of grace, developed its contents, showed its relation to the Christian mysteries and described its goal. The content can be summed up in the following arguments: universal vocation to holiness; charity as the soul, center and measure of perfection; humility as the indispensable condition for the growth of charity; purification or ascetism as the law of interior ascents; prayer as a duty and a need, the means and end of spiritual life; gifts of the Holy Spirit; imitation of Christ; love for and medita tion on Scripture. Regarding the vocation to holiness he showed a doctrinal balance between the goodness of marriage and the excellence of consecrated virginity: regarding the states themselves, the latter is superior to the former iure divino Virginit. 1, 1. Regarding all the Christian virtues taken together, a married person can be more perfect than the consecrated virgin. Regarding charity he highlighted three aspects: vitality, gratuity, centrality; he distinguished between servile fear or fear of punishment, which is opposed to charity, and the chaste or filial fear that accompanies charity and increases with it. His chapter on prayer is important, explaining its nature and defending its necessity linked to the necessity of grace, interiority, usefulness for others, even for those who have not yet been called, that they might be Persev. 22,60, its christocentricity, since it is Christ who prays for us, prays in us, and is prayed to by us Enarr. in ps. 85,1. Regarding the mysteries, he illustrates our relationship with the Trinity, the recollection, contemplation and love to which the Christian’s worship and love is oriented Trin. 15, 20, 39; with Christ the way and homeland, and therefore the Christian’s entire life; with the church, love for which is the measure of perfection Everyone possesses the Holy Spirit in the measure in which he loves the church: Tract. Ev. Jo. 32, 8; with justification, which beyond remission of sins is the progressive restoration of the image of the Trinity in the person Trin. 14-15; with eschatology, where there will be concors differentia Virginit. 29; and in general with Scripture, hearing and meditating on which nourish the spiritual life Conf. 11, 2, 2. He then describes the degrees of the spiritual life Quant. an. 33,73-76, which correspond to those of charity Nat. grat. 70, 84 and to the gifts of the Holy Spirit Serm. Dom. 1, 1, 3-4, 12; 2, 5, 17-11, 39. He describes the nature of contemplation as a great mystic Conf. 9, 10, 23-26; 10, 40, 65; Enarr. in ps. 4 1, 9-10, without neglecting its relation to the pastoral life Serm. 103; 104; 179, 4-5, which involves an equilibrium between caritas veritatis and necessitas caritatis Civ. Dei 19,19, an equilibrium which is one of the great merits of Augustinian spirituality. CPL 250-386. Critical editions: Maurini 1679-1700, the best overall and the only complete, reprinted many times Paris, Venice, Naples and reproduced by J.P. Migne, Patrologia Latina PL 32-46; Corpus Vindob. CSEL from 1887; Corpus Christianorum CCL from 1954. Bilingual editions: BA Fr. from 1948; BAC Sp. from 1951; NBA It. from 1965; Ger.: Sankt Augustinus – Der Lehrer der Gnade anti-Pelagian works from 1955. Translations: The Fathers of the Church, New York from 1948; The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the TwentyFirst Century, J. Rotelle ed., Hyde Park, NY 1979. For the individual works in the various languages see Patrologia III, Studies: See Augustinus Lexikon, Basel 1986; Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, Grand Rapids 1999. The literature being immense, I will limit myself to citing: 1 Bibliographies: E. Nebreda, Bibl. Augustiniana, Rome 1928; Bulletin de Thologie Ancienne et Mdivale, Mont CsarLouvain 1929ff.; R. Gonzlez, Bibl. Agustiniana del Centenario: Religi³n y Cultura 15 1931 461-509; M.F. Sciacca, Augustinus: Bibl. Einf¼hrungen in das Studium d. Phil., Bern 1948; Bulletin Augustinien: AnThA 1949-1953 and then REAug of 1955; E. Lamirande, Un si¨cle et demi d’tudes sur l’ecclsiologie di St. Aug. Essai bibliographique: REAug 8 1962; T. van Bavel, Rpertoire bibliographique de St. Aug. 1950-1960, Steenbrugge 1963; A. Rigobello, Studi agostiniani in Italia nell’ultimo ventennio: Cultura e Scuola 32 1969 73-84; C. Andresen, Bibliographia Augustiniana, Darmstadt 1973; R. Lorenz, Zwlf Jahre Augustinusforschung 1959-1970: Theol. Rundschau 38-40 1973-75; Fichier Augustinien: Inst. ‰t. Aug., Paris 1972; E.S. Lodovici, Agostino: Questioni di Storiografia Fil., I, Brescia 1975, 445-501; T.L. Miethe, Augustinian Bibliography 1970-1980, Westport, CT 1982; A. Moda, Bibliografia per uno studio di S. Agostino: Nicolaus 22 1995 179-239. For the individual works, see the ample bibliography in the NBA. 2 General Studies: Enciclopedie: C. Boyer, S. Agostino: EC I, 519-567; A. Casamassa, Agostino: EI I, 913-923; E. Portali, Augustin: DTC I, 2268-2472; M.F. Sciacca, Agostino: Enc. Fil., I, 8-111, Milan-Venice 1957; A. Trap¨, S. Agostino: BS I, 428-596; Id., Patrologia, III, 325-434 with ample bibliography and indication of the eds. and trs. of the individual works. 3 Miscellanea: Miscellanea Agostiniana, I, Rome 1930 S. Aug. Sermones post Maurinos reperti, II, Rome 1931 Studi; Miscellanea Augustiniana, Nijmegen 1930; Mlanges Augustiniennes, Paris 1931; ‰tudes Augustiniennes, Paris 1951; Recherches Augustiniennes, Paris 1958ff.; var. aus., S. Ag. Nel XV centenario della morte, Milan 1930; La Ciudad de Dios special issue, 2 vols., El Escorial 1954; H.I. Marrou, Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique, Paris 2 1949 It. tr. Milan 1987; A. Trap¨, Agostino. L’uomo, il pastore, il mistico, Fossano 1976 Rome 2001; C. Lepelley, Les cits de l’Afrique romaine, 2 vols., Paris 1979-1981; Les lettres de saint Augustin dcouvertes par Johannes Divjak, Paris 1983; A.-M. La Bonnardi¨re ed., Saint Augustin et la Bible, Paris 1986; var. aus., Atti del Congresso int.le su S. Agostino nel XVI centenario della sua conversione, 3 vols., Rome 1987; A. Trap¨, S. Agostino. Introduzione alla dottrina della grazia, 2 vols., Rome 1987-1990; M. Merino ed., Verbo de Dios y palabras humanas en el XVI centenario de la conversi³n cristiana de San Agust­n, Pamplona 1988; A.J. Springer, Augustine’s Use of Scripture in His Anti-Jewish Polemic, Louisville, KY 1989; G.P. Lawless, Augustine of Hippo and His Monastic Rule, Oxford 1990; Collectanea Augustiniana: Augustine, Second Founder of the Faith, J.C. Schnaubelt and F. Van Fleteren eds., Bern 1990; F. Thlamon, Destruction du paganisme et construction du royaume de Dieu d’apr¨s Rufin et Augustin: CrSt 11 1990 523-544; G. Madec, La patrie et la voie, Paris 1989 It. tr. Rome 1993, 2 2001; J.-L. Maier, Le dossier sur le donatisme, Berlin 1987-1989; E. Roll, Der platonisierende Augustinus, Stuttgart 1990; San Agustin en Oxford, X Congreso Internacional de Estudios Patr­sticos, J. Oroz Reta ed., Madrid 1991; Augustine: From Rhetor to Theologian, ed. J. McWilliam et al., Waterloo, ON 1992; Augustinus minister et magister: homenaje al profesor Argimiro Turrado Turrado, O.S.A., 2 vols., Madrid 1992; N. Cipriani, Le fonti cristiane della dottrina trinitaria nei primi Dialoghi di S. Agostino: Augustinianum 34 1994 253-312; G. Madec, Petites tudes augustiniennes, Paris 1994; D. Marafioti, Sant’Agostino e la nuova alleanza: l’interpretazione agostiniana di Geremia 31, 31-34 nell’ambito dell’esegesi patristica, Brescia 1995; G. Madec, Le Dieu d’Augustin, Paris 1996; Id., La philosophie de Saint Augustin, Paris 1996; P.-M. Humbert, Gloria gratiae. Se glorifier en Dieu, principe et fin de la thologie augustinienne de la grce, Paris 1996; M.A. Tilley, Donatist Martyr Stories: The Church in Conflict in Roman North Africa, Liverpool 1996; Id., The Bible in Christian North Africa: The Donatist World, Minneapolis 1997; J.M. Rist, Agostino: il battesimo del pensiero antico, It. tr. Milan 1997; M. Fiedrowicz, Psalmus vox totius Christi: Studien zu Augustins Enarrationes in Psalmos, Freiburg 1997; E. TeSelle, Living in Two Cities: Augustinian Trajectories in Political Thought, Tonawanda, NY 1998; Augustinus in der Neuzeit: colloque de la Herzog August Bibliothek de Wolfenb¼ttel, 14-17 octobre 1996, K. Flasch – D. de Courcelles eds., Turnhout 1998; Augustin prdicateur 395-411, Paris 1998; G. Sfameni Gasparro, Agostino: tra etica e religione, Brescia 1999; San Agust­n en Oxford, XII Congreso Internacional de Estudios Patr­sticos, J.J. Oldfield – J. Anoz eds., Madrid 1999; N. Cipriani, La precettistica antica e la regola monastica di S. Agostino: Augustinianum 39 1999 365-380; L. Alici, L’altro nell’io: in dialogo con Agostino, Rome 1999; S. Lancel, Saint Augustin, Paris 1999; P. Brown, Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, New ed. with an epilogue, Berkeley, CA 2000; Augustine and Liberal Education, K. Paffenroth -K. Hughes eds., Aldershot 2000; Augustine and His Critics: Essays in Honour of Gerald Bonner, ed. R. Dodaro – G. Lawless, London – New York 2000; B. Kursawe, Docere-delectaremovere: die officia oratoris bei Augustinus in Rhetorik und Gnadenlehre, Paderborn 2000; P.-M. Hombert, Nouvelles recherches de chronologie augustinienne, Turnhout 2000; R.W. Dyson, The Pilgrim City: Social and Political Ideas in the Writings of St. Augustine of Hippo, Woodbridge 2001; C. Simonelli, La resurrezione nel De Trinitate di Agostino: presenza, formulazione, funzione, Rome 2001; G. Lettieri, L’altro Agostino: ermeneutica e retorica della grazia dalla crisi alla metamorfosi del De doctrina christiana, Brescia 2001; L’adorabile vescovo di Ippona: Atti del Convegno di Paola 24- 25 May 2000, F.E. Consolino ed., Soveria Mannelli 2001; F. Dolbeau, Vingt-six sermons au peuple d’Afrique, mise   jour bibliographique, 1996-2000, Paris 2001; Augustinus Afer: Saint Augustin, africanit et universalit, O. Wermelinger et al. eds., Fribourg 2003.

AUGUSTINE of Hippo Photo Gallery




AUGUSTINE of Hippo

AUGUSTINE of Hippo

AUGUSTINE of Hippo

AUGUSTINE of Hippo

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