Augustine (of Hippo), Saint

Augustine (of Hippo), Saint

biographical name


St. Augustine, fresco by Sandro Botticelli, 1480; in the church of Ognissanti, Florence.—Scala/Art Resource, New York

(born Nov. 13, 354, Tagaste, Numidia—died Aug. 28, 430, Hippo Regius; feast day August 28) Christian theologian and one of the Latin Fathers of the Church. Born in Roman North Africa, he adopted Manichaeism, taught rhetoric in Carthage, and fathered a son. After moving to Milan he converted to Christianity under the influence of St. Ambrose, who baptized him in 387. He returned to Africa to pursue a contemplative life, and in 396 he became bishop of Hippo (now Annaba, Alg.), a post he held until his death while the city was under siege by a Vandal army. His best-known works include the Confessions, an autobiographical meditation on God's grace, and The City of God, on the nature of human society and the place of Christianity in history. His theological works On Christian Doctrine and On the Trinity are also widely read. His sermons and letters show the influence of Neoplatonism and carry on debates with the proponents of Manichaeism, Donatism, and Pelagianism. His views on predestination influenced later theologians, notably John Calvin. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in the early Middle Ages.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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