Saint Augustine of Hippo

Topics: Natural law, Thomas Aquinas, Augustine of Hippo Pages: 4 (1392 words) Published: November 19, 2012
Biography: Aurelius Augustinus (referred to as “St. Augustine of Hippo) was born in Tagaste (now Souk- Ahras), North Africa on November 13, 354. His family was not rich growing up but Augustine still received a Christian education. Wild as a child he had a long-term relationship with a freedwoman who bore him a son. When he was 19 he was introduced to philosophy at Carthage where he became a brilliant student who mastered Latin and knew Greek. He worked as a professor at Carthage for a while but sometimes the students didn’t pay the professors after attending all the classes, so he got annoyed and traveled to Rome to seek a fortune. When he was in his thirties he converted to Christianity and entered a monastery. He spent the rest of his life working on his philosophical writings. In 395 he was ordained Bishop of Hippo. He died of a fever on August 28, 430 during the third month of the siege of Hippo by the barbarians.

Philosophy on Law: St. Augustine believed and wrote extensively about natural law. He defines natural law as “an instilled law written on the human heart or conscience”. Augustine believed natural law was one of the ways God governs humans. His notions of natural law lead him to a discussion about just and unjust laws. He believed just laws were derived from natural law. Additionally he believed, those laws not following natural law, were unjust and “is no law at all”

Strengths and Weaknesses: There are a few weaknesses when it comes to Augustine’s belief on natural law. Natural law is grounded in religion and in todays world people want a different legal system between the church and state. This makes them tend to avoid the reference to “natural law”. Another weakness is Augustine’s believed that some laws were written on peoples hearts. This leads to the question, why is there bad people? Not to say all of natural law is a weakness because it does have some strengths. One strength, to natural law is despite all the different...
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