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On Purpose$
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Michael Ruse

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195957

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195957.001.0001

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(p.23) Chapter Two Jerusalem
On Purpose

Michael Ruse

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on Augustine, whose influence on Western Christianity cannot be overemphasized, was born in a Roman province in North Africa of a Christian mother and a pagan father. Raised a Christian, he dropped out, acquired a mistress with whom he lived for thirteen years and by whom he had a son who died in adolescence, went to Italy as a professor of rhetoric, fell among the Manicheans, sloughed off his first mistress and had another for two years. Finally, Augustine went back to Africa, particularly at the urging of his very persistent mother, became again a Christian and was baptized by Saint Ambrose, bishop of Milan, in 386. About ten years after returning to Christianity, Augustine wrote his autobiography, the Confessions, perhaps the greatest spiritual story of personal growth of Western culture. His God is emphatically the God of Plato, the God of The Republic, where the form of the good is a necessarily existing eternal force or entity, outside time and space, truly good and beautiful, the font of all other beings, from which everything stems and to which everything relates as the cause of existence.

Keywords:   Augustine, Western, Christianity, Saint Ambrose, Confessions, Plato, eternal

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