When: 9:10 to 9:45 each Sunday from September 24 through October 22 (the Discipleship hour)
Where: Library at St. Christopher’s Church
What: Five sessions on Augustine (354-430): his life, works, and historical significance. He was a north African (probably Berber) who became an elite rhetorics professor in Milan and was baptized Christian under Bishop Ambrose’s influence. He returned to Africa, became Bishop of Hippo, and wrote his Confessions, the City of God, and many other works (so we know a LOT about Augustine). He struggled all his life to provide answers to the hard, cutting-edge questions of his day: what is God? If God is all good and all powerful, why is there evil in the world? As the Roman Empire crumbled around him, he tried to construct another authority—the Christian Church—that would provide order and stability. Because of the breadth of his experience, from poor rural Africa to the imperial court, he understood the variety of needs that the Church would have to satisfy.
Why: In Augustine’s lifetime a number of Christian sects, as well as paganism (particularly as the fall of the Roman Empire was blamed on its adoption of Christianity), were candidates to dominate western civilization in the wake of the Empire. Augustine was one main reason they didn’t. His formulation appealed to elites because it incorporated classical traditions and because it supported the existing social order. It appealed to poor people because it provided explanation and purpose to their lives. “Augustinianism” is important because it became arguably the dominant system of beliefs in western civilization for many centuries. It is also interesting because of its maximalist approach: Augustine CAN explain how predestination and original sin and free will all fit together!
Who: YOU should attend. The Rev. Hillary Raining and Tom Allen will lead the sessions.