Saint Augustine of Hippo“Aurelius Augustinus” (354-430 A.D.)

Augustine described eight kinds of lies. The first five aredefinitely to be avoided and are

Battenhouse, ed., A Companion to the Study of Saint Augustine; G.

Letters, Sermons, and Discourses on Psalms were also written during this period.The works in the final period of Augustine'swritings were largely antiPelagian.

Saint Augustine (first to begin “translating classical rhetoric into the language of the church.”)

Augustine died in 430 A.D., during the siege of Hippo by Vandals.

The Donatist bishop Petilian complained to Augustine that Catholicscarried on a war against them, and the Donatists' only victorieswere to be killed or escape. He asked how he could justify thispersecution since never persecuted anyone. Augustine replied by suggesting thatChristian love meant ecclesiastical unity. Petilian angrily chargedthat love does not persecute nor inflame emperors to take awaylives and plunder people's goods. He accused Augustine of stillbeing Manichaean and blamed him for introducing monasteries toAfrica. Augustine found Christ persecuting when expelled merchants from the temple with a whip. Vincentius, anold friend of Augustine from Carthage and a leader in the Donatistsect of Rogatists, was shocked that the Hippo bishop favored usingstate power to quell Donatists in order to force them into theCatholic church. Augustine argued that was struck blind on the Damascus road and that Elijah killed falseprophets. Many Donatists were joining the Catholic unity becausethey feared the imperial edicts. He also referred to the parableof the banquet in when later guests were compelled to come.

definition of rhetoric: “art of Christian teaching and persuasion with words.”

Augustine wrote the first three books of in 397, but the last book was written thirty years later. In thiswork he held that the spiritually mature person in faith, hope,and love no longer needs the scripture except for instructingothers. To correct scripture Augustine held that whatever in itsliteral sense is inconsistent with purity of life or correct doctrineshould be interpreted figuratively, carefully meditating on itin order to find an interpretation that tends to establish thereign of love. Augustine recommended that the Christian teachershould pray before preaching. He concluded that the main aim isto help the hearer understand the truth, hear it with gladness,and practice it. He exhorted teachers to fulfill their responsibilityby leading a life in harmony with the teaching, showing a goodexample to all. Augustine also wrote influential catecheticalinstructions and a long work, . In a handbookcalled he was one of the firstto establish the idea of purgatory, and he adamantly maintainedhis belief in eternal hell against the Origenist view that itwould eventually end. Augustine held to the view that God's mercyis unmerited by sinful humans and is given only by the grace ofChrist.


A Modification of Augustine's Definition

Augustine began investigating his own mind and wrote particularlyabout memory, trying to explain how it works. He worked to freehimself of temptations. He was more afraid of the uncleannessof gluttony than unclean meat. He believed he could not trusteven his own mind based on its experience as much as God's mercy,because even those who have improved might pass from a betterto a worse condition. In addition to sensual pleasures he foundthat his mind could be tempted by idle curiosity. In the lastthree books of his Augustine discussed and the problem of time. He concluded that we only are impelledto do good after being inspired by the Holy Spirit. Prior to that,he believed that the human impulse is to do wrong. Yet God isalways good. He hoped to find rest in the presence of God. Tounderstand this truth we must seek it; when we do, the door willbe opened.

Problems with the Definition of Hugh ofSt.

The examples of the scriptures and saints are not to lie. Augustineconcluded that we should follow the commandment and not lie atall; but if a person does lie, the further down the scale towardthe eighth the less the sin. The Priscillianists believed it rightto conceal their heresy by lying, and some Catholics wanted topretend they were Priscillianists in order to penetrate theirgroup; but Augustine opposed this hypocritical practice, asking,"How then by a lie shall I rightly be able to prosecute lies?"3

Polman, The Word of God According to Saint Augustine; E.R.

Augustine that "the justification of the wicked is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth," because "heaven and earth will pass away but the salvation and justification of the elect . . .

Augustine follows Cicero’s three purposes of rhetoric:

Yet Augustine believed that love is the essential quality thatdistinguishes the true Christian. Whatever you do, he advised,do it with love; for who can do ill to someone one loves? If youlove, you cannot but do well. Augustine traveled to the capitalof Mauretania at Caesarea in order to prevent the annual civilbattle between two hostile factions of families, and he was ableto stop the bloodshed. Honorius also issued edicts against anybishop who would not condemn the views of Pelagius, and in 419a bishop from Italy, Julian, was deposed and banished. Julianwrote against the views of the "Carthaginian" Augustine,and the Hippo bishop countered with his own arguments. Juliancriticized Augustine for denigrating sexual desire, which Julianconsidered ordained by God. Julian also charged his adversarywith denying free will because of his view that God predestinedsome for salvation and others to damnation. Julian believed thathumans do good or evil by free will, assisted by God's grace orincited by the devil. He asserted that if God created humans,they cannot have evil in them; if sins are forgiven, childrencannot be condemned for the sins of their parents. Augustine wrotehis response in in 421, citing scripturesand quoting Ambrose.