St. Augustine or Augustine of Hippo was born in 354 in Roman-controlled Northern Africa. Born of a pagan father and Catholic mother, Augustine studied Cicero and other pagan writers in his youth. He converted to Manichaeism in Carthage in 371; living a live of hedonism, taking a concubine and fathering a son with her. He later developed an interest in Neoplatonism and then in 386, converted to Catholicism becoming a celibate priest. After this, he quickly ascended up the church hierarchy until he was made the Bishop of Hippo in 395, where he stayed until his death in 430.
The Roman Empire fell in 410, only seventeen years after Christianity became the official religion of the state. Many of the traditional Roman worshipers saw this as a causal connection, and began to attack Christianity. St Augustine, determined to defend Christianity, put forth his vision of what an empire built on peace and justice would consist of in his twenty-two volumes of the City of God. In the book, St. Augustine argues that an Emperor rules best and happiest when he is ruling by God’s will. This work would serve as the basis for the work of future religious political thinkers, such as John of Salisbury, who would expand upon the work to argue for the direct rule of religious authority over secular government.
God of the gaps
- "In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it."