This course is about Augustine (354-430 CE), the bishop and philosopher sometimes credited with being both the last great thinker of Classical Antiquity and the first great thinker of the era that followed. Augustine merged two great streams of the ancient world: Christianity on the one hand and pagan (Greek and Roman) philosophy on the other. In so doing, he helped to produce a philosophical, political, and religious outlook whose influence down to the present has been incalculable. We'll see that Augustine's stamp is still evident on our conceptions of love, evil, the self, free will, and war, among others. We'll give some attention to Augustine's influences -- his Christian and pagan sources -- as well as to the decline of the Roman Empire in his day. Our readings will span history, literature, religion, and philosophy, and include selections from some of Augustine's main works (e.g. On Free Choice of the Will, Confessions, and City of God). We'll also watch movies (e.g. Restless Heart).
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