Chapter

North Africa

George Lawless

in Augustine of Hippo and his Monastic Rule

Published in print August 1990 | ISBN: 9780198267416
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683244 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198267416.003.0005

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

North Africa

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This chapter contains a cursory presentation of three sharply contrasting points of view. Notwithstanding this range of contradictory opinion, it sets forth reasons which compel to characterize the life at Thagaste between the years 388–91 as providing a genuinely monastic experience. Thagaste community was religious chiefly in the sense that it espoused the ideals of philosophic contemplation then prevalent in the world of late antiquity. It also grants Thagaste legitimate recognition as a monastery. An objection to calling Thagaste a monastic community in the strict sense emerges from the fact that the extant literature nowhere designates Augustine's family home as a monastery. A further objection to calling Thagaste a monastery in the strict sense hinges on the word otium. It is noted that Augustine actually feeds otium as a ‘good thing’ into western monasticism. The chapter then discusses Presbyter at Hippo. Whether Augustine was ordained bishop of Hippo in late 395 or 396 is uncertain. Just as he may be said to have clericalized the monk, with equal insistence Augustine will ‘monasticize’ the cleric. The bishop of Hippo will remain un moine malgré tout, a monk in spite of everything.

Keywords: North Africa; Thagaste; monastery; Augustine; otium; western monasticism; Presbyter; Hippo; ordained bishop

Chapter.  7642 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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