- AUGUSTINE 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 excesseslater, while studying RHETORIC and PHILOSOPHY, he came under the influence of MANICHAEISM followed by NEOPLATONISM. In the spring of 387, after many sessions with AMBROSE, BISHOP of MILAN, and the study of the BIBLE, Augustine was BAPTIZED. These events are recorded in his Confessions which is a spiritual classic and the first real work of Christian autobiography. His CHRISTIANITY 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 God. 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.
Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.