Augustine of Hippo was a spirited theologian and a prodigious author, and is considered by many to be one of the church’s greatest teachers.
Augustine was born in Thagaste (modern-day Souk Ahras in Algeria) on 13 November 354. His father was a modest farmer and his mother, Monica, was a Christian. Although his mother raised him as a Christian, Augustine soon considered the teachings inferior when he began studying the classics at Carthage. He became a teacher of the liberal arts, specifically of Latin literature, rhetoric and logic. Augustine particularly admired the writings of Cicero, whose influence is noticeable in his own writing. While in Carthage, Augustine became attached to the Manichee ascetic community. He also acquired a concubine and had a son with her, named Adeodatus. Unfortunately, his son died as a youth at the age of sixteen.
Augustine’s life took a drastic turn when he moved to Italy in 383 and finally settled in Milan in 384 as a professor of rhetoric. For a time he associated himself with the Neoplatonic community. Yet it was also in Milan where he was attracted to the sermons of Bishop Ambrose. Ambrose was a superior preacher to those in North Africa, and Augustine was impressed. After years of feeling that something was missing in his life, Augustine converted to Christianity in the summer of 386. Ambrose baptized him in 387 on Easter Eve. He returned to North Africa, and being known for his intelligence and Latin eloquence, he was persuaded to serve as bishop of Hippo, a position he held from 395 until his death in 430. Throughout his career, Augustine participated in several African council and he fought hard against such heresies as Donatism and Pelagianism.
For a full chronological list of his activity see http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/jod/augustine/
An English translation of Augustine’s work de cura pro mortuis (On the Care of the Dead) can be accessed here.
Brown, Peter. Augustine of Hippo: A Biography.2 Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
Trapè, A. “Augustine of Hippo.” In Encyclopedia of the Early Church. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
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Last updated: 4-24-2012
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