A brief overview of Saint Augustine

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St. Augustine was also called Saint Augustine of Hippo (original Latin name Aurelius Augustinus). He was born on November 13, 354, and died on August 28, 430.  Among his numerous written works, the most important ones are Confessions and The City of God. These works shaped the practice of biblical exegesis and laid the foundation of medieval alongside modern Christian thought.

Augustine’s Life:

Augustine was born in a modest community called Tagaste, near the Mediterranean coast of Africa. Initially, he studied in this community and later continued in the nearby university and further at Carthage. Augustine left Africa and headed towards Rome in 383. Further, he received an appointment as an imperial professor of rhetoric in Milan.

Two years later, he resigned from his post as a teacher. Later, after some soul-searching and apparent idleness, he made his way back to his native town of Tagaste. At the age of 36, he pressed into service against his will as a junior clergyman in Hippo’s coastal city, north of Tagaste. Augustine was always a dabbler of the Christian religion in one form or another.

Moreover, the collapse of his career at Milan was associated with an intensification of religiosity. Since then, all his writings were driven by his allegiance to a particular form of Christianity – orthodox and intellectual.

St Augustine

Augustine associated himself with the “official” branch of Christianity, approved by emperors and reviled by the most active and numerous African church branches. However, his literary and intellectual abilities helped him to articulate his vision of Christianity such that it set him apart from his African contemporaries.

Augustine further became bishop there in 395 or 396 and spent the rest of his life in that office. He would go to Carthage for several months to take up business in a place where he could promote his talents rather than being in his adopted home city.

He always had some controversies with others of the same religion. In his late teens, he joined a Christian sect called Manichaeism and wrote a book on it in his years of rustication. However, after ten years, he left the sect since it became impolitic to be a part of that Christian sect. You can find more about the work of Saint Augustine from the collection of books

For the next 20 years, he was preoccupied with the struggle to make his brand of Christianity prevail over all others in Africa. Through these years, Augustine had created a good reputation throughout Africa and beyond. Due to his contacts with selected correspondents, he became famous in Spain, Gaul, the Middle East, and Italy.

Also, his books were widely circulated throughout the Mediterranean world. In his last years, he created a catalog of his books. Many of his opponents heated in their attacks on him, but he usually retained their respect by his writings’ power and effectiveness. His fame notwithstanding, Augustine died with his local legacy dimmed by foreign conquest.

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