of Hippo (354-430).
The greatest of the Latin Christian Fathers and African theologians and
one of the outstanding thinkers of all time. Augustine was of Berber descent
and almost certainly Black. His mother, Monica, was a Christian whose
virtues he praised. But at Carthage he was drawn into sexual excesses:
later, while studying rhetoric and philosophy, he came under the influence
of Manichaism followed by Neoplatonism. In the spring of 387, after many
sessions with Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, and the study of the Bible, Augustine
The events of
Augustine's life are recorded in his Confessions which is a spiritual
classic and the first real work of Christian autobiography. Augustine's
Christinaity remained strongly ascetic and his writings display a
remarkably African ethos.
In 396 he was consecrated Bishop of Hippo and remained a pastor until
his death. For more than thirty years Augustine was the leading the
theologian in African Christianity. In 410 the Goths sacked Rome and
the pagans blamed the Christians whose God they said caused the disaster.
Augustine put the capstone on his theological activity by defending
the Christians against this charge in his great work The City of
Augustine's theology helped bring about the Protestant Reformation
and deeply influenced early Protestant theologians such as Martin
Luther and John Calvin who were strongly Augustinian in their outlook.
The Rule of St. Augustine an early monastic rule attributed to Augustine
of Hippo outlining life in the monastery. It deeply influenced the
© Copyright Irving Hexham 1999