Augustine of Hippo
BornTagasta (Souk-Ahras, Algeria), 354
DiedHippo (near Annaba, Algeria), 430
The son of a pagan father and Catholic mother, Saint Augustine had a good classical education though, perhaps unique among classical philosophers, he failed to learn Greek, which he disliked intensely, to any more than a rudimentary level. At the age of 19 he joined the Manicheans, a Christian church that had adopted the Persian cosmology in which the structure and history of the Universe was based on the perpetual struggle between light (good) and darkness (evil). To the Manicheans, Christ was the representative of light. During this period Augustine achieved recognition for his philosophical work and was appointed professor of rhetoric at Milan. At the age of 28, he converted to Catholicism and at the same time began reading Platoand the Neoplatonic philosophers, Plotinus and Porphyry. Although he personally challenged such elements of Neoplatonic cosmology as the...