Philosophy Word of the Day – Augustine’s Political and Social Philosophy

Saint Augustine of Hippo, a seminal thinker on...

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“St. Augustine (C.E. 354-430), originally named Aurelius Augustinus, was the Catholic bishop of Hippo in northern Africa.  He was a skilled Roman-trained rhetorician, a prolific writer (who produced more than 110 works over a 30-year period), and by wide acclamation, the first Christian philosopher.  Writing from a unique background and vantage point as a keen observer of society before the fall of the Roman Empire, Augustine’s views on political and social philosophy constitute an important intellectual bridge between late antiquity and the emerging medieval world.  Because of the scope and quantity of his work, many scholars consider him to have been the most influential Western philosopher.

“Although Augustine certainly would not have thought of himself as a political or social philosopher per se, the record of his thoughts on such themes as the nature of human society, justice, the nature and role of the state, the relationship between church and state, just and unjust war, and peace all have played their part in the shaping of Western civilization. There is much in his work that anticipates major themes in the writings of moderns like Machiavelli, Luther, Calvin and, in particular, Hobbes.” (continue article)

—J. Mark Mattox at The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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2 thoughts on “Philosophy Word of the Day – Augustine’s Political and Social Philosophy

  1. Hi John,
    Augustine was certainly a philosopher, and wrote about issues that modern political philosophy deals with–as the author of the article points out: “the nature of human society, justice, the nature and role of the state, the relationship between church and state, just and unjust war, and peace.”

    Human beings will never achieve lasting peace on their own, because they’re fallen and naturally gravitate toward evil–not just self-centeredness, but cruelty and unprovoked malice. Our sin separates us from God, which is a chasm only bridged by the atoning sacrifice of God incarnate–Jesus Messiah. We’re dead in our sins, and have no power to rescue ourselves. But God can, if we surrender our lives to Him.

    Chris

  2. Hi, I am from Australia. I have been here before.
    \
    How then would you respond to the political “philosophy” communicated in these references by a remarkable “philosopher” who was in no sense political.

    http://www.dabase.org/openlett.htm written in response to the Kosovo crisis, and a precursor to the next reference.

    http://www.dabase.org/not2.htm
    http://www.beezone.com/news.html elaborations on the above reference

    Plus a radical critique of conventional self-serving religiosity

    http://www.beezone.com/up/criticismcuresheart.html

    http://www.adidam.org/teaching/gnostcon/universal-scientism.aspx

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