Augustine of Hippo

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Augustine of Hippo, born A.D. 354, Tagaste; died August 28, 430, Hippo Regius (modern Bone, Tunisia).


Augustine was raised in Roman north Africa, educated in Carthage and employed as a professor of rhetoric in Milan by 383. Followed heterodox Christian belief Manichaeism in his student days, converted to orthodox Christianity by the preaching and example of Ambrose of Milan. He was baptized at Easter in 387, and returned to north Africa and created an monastic foundation at Tagaste for himself and a group of friends. In 391 he was ordained a priest in Hippo. He became a famous preacher (more than 350 preserved sermons are believed to be authentic), and noted for combatting the Manichaean heresy.

In 396 he was made coadjutor bishop of Hippo (assistant with the right of succession on the death of the current bishop), and remained as bishop in Hippo until his death in 430. He left his monastery, but continued to lead a monastic life in the episcopal residence. He left a Rule (Latin, Regula) for his monastery that has led him to be designated the "patron saint of Regular Clergy," that is parish clergy who live by a monastic rule.

Augustine died in A.D. 430.


On Christian Doctrine, 397-426
Confessions, around 400
City of God, begun c. 413, finished 426.
On the Trinity, 400-416.

Augustine was a prolific author in several genres - theological treatises, sermons, scripture commentaries, and autobiography. His Confessions is usually accorded the position of the first autobiography; Augustine moves from his conception to his current (at about the age of fifty) relationship with God, and ends with a long excursus on the book of Genesis in which he demonstrates how to interpret scripture. The psychological awareness and self-revelation of the work still impresses readers.

At the end of his life (426-428?) Augustine revisited his previous works in chronological order and suggested what he would have said differently in a work titled the Retractions, which gives us a remarkable picture of the development of a writer and his final thoughts.

Several of his writings, including On Christian Doctrine, Confessions, and City of God are available freely at

Influence as a Theologian

Two later theologians who claimed special influence from Augustine were John Calvin and Cornelius Jansen. Calvinism developed as a part of Reformation theology, while Jansenism was a movement inside the Catholic Church; some Jansenists went into schism and formed their own church.

Predestination and Free will

Influence as a Philosopher