From The Body and Society.
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy "Augustine, Saint" (Michael Mendelson):

  • "Augustine bequeathed to the Latin West a voluminous body of work that contains at its chronological extremes two quite dissimilar portraits of the human condition. In the beginning, there is a largely Hellenistic portrait, one that is notable for the optimism that a sufficiently rational and disciplined life can safely escape the ever-threatening circumstantial adversity that seems to surround us. Nearer the end, however, there emerges a considerably grimmer portrait, one that emphasizes the impotence of the unaided human will, and the later Augustine presents a moral landscape populated largely by the massa damnata [De Civitate Dei XXI.12], the overwhelming majority who are justly predestined to eternal punishment by an omnipotent God, intermingled with a small minority whom God, with unmerited mercy, has predestined to be saved. The sheer quantity of the writing that unites these two extremes, much of which survives, is truly staggering."

(c)2000, Stanford University 


Top of Page || Home Page || Stanford University Libraries || Stanford University