Document Type Master's Dissertation Author Buqa, Wonke firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-07242008-125921 Document Title The role of St.Augustine as a North African church historian Degree MTh (Church History) Department Church History and Church Polity Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof G A Duncan Supervisor Keywords
- John Calvin
- Augustine’s historiography
- City of God
- Ambrose of Milan
- Martin Luther
- The Confessions
Date 2007-09-05 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe intention of this study is to investigate the role St. Augustine has contributed as a North African Church Historian. In order to archive the intention of this study one of the most significant works that Augustine wrote the City of God is going to be used as a literature review.
The City of God is originally written to defend the church against charges of being responsible for the destruction of the city of Rome in 410 CE; the City of God has come to stand as a monument to theological reflection on the history of God’s creation.
Though not primarily a historian, Augustine has made a significant contribution to the study of Christian history. He raises scripture to become the source of the meaning of history and defines the only true history as sacred history. This study considers Augustine’s critique of the Church catholic, the meaning of history, the origins of the City of God, Augustine’s views on the philosophy and theology history and the prophetic nature of biblical history.
The first part of the study will trace the early life struggle of Augustine in his quest for knowledge and the truth. He learnt rhetoric studies; he examined the Holy Scriptures and found them unworthy. Then he was a follower of the Manicheans, but he was disillusioned when he met their sophistical leader Faustus. Finally, bishop Ambrose of Milan in his allegorical interpretation and explanation of scripture and the influence of Christian Neoplatonism helped Augustine to find an approach to the Bible and to overcome his difficulties with his childhood religion. Ambrose led him to the verge of conversion.
Augustine’s impact on Reformation is considered. He is a father of the Church who has exerted an unparalleled influence on more than the thousand years that separated him from the birth of Protestant churches, but that long period is not an empty space because his historical work was influential throughout this period. In a movement to renew and reform the Church the various Reformers of the sixteenth century like Martin Luther and John Calvin studied Augustine in order to challenge abuses within the Catholic Church. The influence and the legacy that Augustine had on other people is discussed as the final conclusion of the study. The ideas, which he phrased with great skill, were to be accepted by almost all the leading thinkers of Europe until after the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. Augustine had made much of being the Catholic bishop of Hippo.
© University of Pretoria 2007
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