The Politics of Augustine from an Anabaptist Perspective
THE POLITICS OF ST. AUGUSTINE FROM AN ANABAPTIST PERSPECTIVE
Josiah Meyer June 3, 2009
The following is a research paper I produced for my MA in Theology. It is part of a broader investigation of the topic of pacifism and Christianity. For more, see category “pacifism” in the category drop-down menu, top-right corner
The fourth century is an era pivotal to Anabaptist faith. In it alone lies the key for explaining a continued independence from the Holy See, for pacifism, and for a distancing of the Anabaptist heritage from “the Dark Ages.” Specifically, the Anabaptist tradition believes that Constantine forced the merger between state and church, and that the church compromised her theology accordingly – creating perversions only now rectified in Anabaptist theology.
Augustine plays a key role in validating this overall schema.
Augustine parsed theology in those crucial years immediately after Constantine when the church had the chance either to reject or embrace this new turn of events. Further, as arguably the most influential man in Western history, a distortion located within the thought of Augustine would be disseminated far and wide, explaining the sharp minority of Christian pacifists.
In keeping with this schema, then,
this paper will attempt to prove that Augustine
functioned as a major player in cementing the symbiotic relationship between church and state –
first by embracing the flawed tradition he received, then by pushing these flaws forward in his
life and teaching.
THE POLITICAL LIFE OF THE BISHOP OF HIPPO
The Attractiveness of Symbiosis It is difficult to blame the fourth-century church for rejecting the advances of the state –
being, as they were, not without benefit. As Ted Byfield writes,
For the Christians who lived anywhere in the Roman Empire in [420-430], the world had suddenly turned right-side up. Gone was the threat of imminent execution…the dread of public humiliation or slave labor…the fear of sword, crucifixion, fire and wild beasts…they were free.
In fact, they were more than free. Their faith, instead of sabotaging their social standing, now elevated them to positions of importance and power. Suddenly the doors to financial prosperity and ownership of the best land swung open wide. Benefits enjoyed by senators, soldiers, veterans and scholars became available to the Christian clergy. Almost overnight, the villains became the builders of the world’s greatest empire; the subversives had come out of hiding to run it.”1
As a bishop in the late fourth century, Augustine’s post would be a political as well as a religious one – and Augustine would come to embrace both halves of the tradition he received.
Immediately upon his appointment, Augustine stepped into a position rife with opportunity. Not the type to be tempted by wealth or prestige,2 Augustine came to utilize the political dimensions of his office for philanthropic and – as the years progressed – for ecclesiastical agendas.
Throughout his bishopric, Augustine was to bring all of the ecclesial and political weight of his post to bear on issues of social justice – helping, for example, to establish the imperial position of defensor civitatis,3 seeking limits on slavery,4 provided sanctuary for legal fugitives,
1 Ted Byfield, ed., The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years: By this Sign, A.D. 250-350, (Toronto, ON: Friesen’s Corp., 2003), 157.
2 A growing danger, even in these early decades of church/state cohesion, Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo, (London, ON: University of California Press, 1967), 197.
frequently appealed on behalf of criminals receiving the death penalty, and continually exhorted to justice all that he had access to – either through sermon or through letter.5 Later, however, his concerns were also to turn to ecclesiastical concerns – namely the forceful suppression of rival factions and religions, and the armed protection of the Catholic Church.
Originally, Augustine believed that, “no one should be coerced into the unity of Christ,” by use of arms for fear of eliciting false conversions: the bishops should, “act only by words, fight only by arguments, and prevail by force of reason,”6 alone. Later, however, his opinion was to change. Two of the factors which Augustine cites for this change are: the successful “conversion” by force of Donatists in his hometown, and the violence done to Catholics in neighboring districts.7 Later in life, Augustine was also to equate the protection of Roman cities with the protection of the church.
Out of compassion for the poor, 8 passion for the Kingdom,9 and protectiveness over the flock,10 then, Augustine saw the usefulness of political engagement, and sought to utilize it.
3 “Defender of citizens” – something of an ancient ombudsman, Robert Dodaro, “Church and State,” in Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, Ed. Allan D. Fritzgerald, (Grand Rapids, MI: W.M.B Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009), 179.
4 Including petitioning for protections against trafficking of citizens as slaves, and working to free those he could, Dodaro, “Church and State,” 178.
5 Ibid, 178-179. 6 St. Augustine, Letters, 93.17. [CD-ROM] (The Catholic Encyclopedia: New Advent, 2007). 7 Ibid. 185.26. 8 But cf. Jesus’ subjugation of “the poor” under devotion to Himself: Mat. 26:11, Mark 14:7, John 12:8. 9 But cf. John 18:36. 10 But cf. Mat. 5:11, John 15:20, Phil. 1:29, 2:17-18, 2 Tim. 2:3f, 1 Pet. 3:14f, Jas 1:2-4, etc.
Pushing Symbiosis Further Brown writes that, “Augustine did not inherit a ready-made position of strength…[but
was constrained to] establish his position, over the course of years, by fighting hard for it.”11 Among the most important of Augustine’s ventures was the audientia episcopalis12 (or “Bishop’s Tribunal”). Officially established in deference to Christian sensitivities,13 Augustine
saw in this post, “the one thing that everybody wanted – a free, quick and uncorrupt settlement of cases.”14 In exchange, Augustine was to establish himself as a political figure in Hippo Regius.
The political climate of Hippo Regius15 was a tightly woven fabric of social connections among the elite. As bishop, Augustine found himself thrust among this company, and turned this to his advantage. Those “noble Christian laymen” among his congregation would frequently ask his advice on issues and would, in turn, be called upon to help Augustine in difficult judicial cases.16 Both parties would come to rely on the other, and each attempted at times to exert force on the other.17 For his part, Augustine resisted those who would force him into the mold of pagan priest by retreating into a monastic lifestyle.18 He was not, however, above exerting the powers of his office in manipulation of others.19
11 Brown, Augustine of Hippo, 195.
12 Established by Constantine in 318. Dodaro, “Church and State,” 176.
13 Cf. 1 Cor. 6.
14 Brown, 195.
15 This sea-port Roman town in North Africa was the place where Augustine was to spend the entirety of his ministry career as bishop. For more information, see, ibid, “Hippo Regius,” 189-202.
16 Ibid, 197. 17 Brown, Augustine of Hippo, 197. 18 Ibid, 197-198. 19 This is Augustine’s tactic in a letter to Boniface, St. Augustine, Letters, 220.
The final means which Augustine – probably unintentionally – utilized in support of his position was a “high sense of office.”20 Far from brow-beating his congregation with anger and authoritarianism, Augustine was deeply motivated by a, “streak of primitive terror,”21 a sobering knowledge of the ubiquity of original sin, and a crushing load of responsibility for his congregation. According to Brown, “this real terror of the Last Judgment was the backbone of Augustine’s authority in the Christian community.”22 As the sole instrument of God’s grace to a sinful congregation, Augustine’s place in the Christianized Hippo Regius was to become very important indeed.
Permanence by Necessity In concert with the bishops of North Africa, Augustine was to achieve major successes. In
407, Honorius issued a decree mandating, “the transfer to the Catholic Church of properties used for religious assemblies by pagans, Jews, and heretics, among them Donatists.”23 This was one major breakthrough in a long series of edicts eventually favoring Catholicism to the exclusion of all rivals. As the violence of the Donatists and Pagans escalated in response to this imperial policy,24 the governmental position of defensores ecclesia (“defender of the church”) was officially established to oversee the transfer of said properties, to defend Catholics and to put
20 Brown, 197. 21 Ibid, 196. 22 Ibid, 197. 23 Dodaro, “Church and State,” 180. 24 Henry Chadwick, Augustine: A Very Short Introduction, (New York, NY: Oxford Press, 1986), 103.
down revolt by force. This position was created as a Christian version of the sacerdotes provinciae which had once protected the imperial cult.25
Augustine quickly saw the defensores ecclesia as indispensible to the safety of the church and this not without reason, since the violence of the Donatists was a danger from which he himself only narrowly escaped.26
As a solution to the “dangers from the Gentiles,” as well as “dangers among false brethren,” (2 Cor. 11:26) Augustine was to see the sword as an enduring solution for the church.
In a telling move, the aged Augustine treks to Tubunae in order to dissuade the general Boniface from his intention of becoming a monk, reminding him, “how much service the work which [now occupies] you might render to the churches of Christ if you pursued it with this single aim, that they, protected from all disturbance by barbarian hordes, might live ‘a quiet and peaceable life,’ as the apostle says, ‘in all godliness and honesty’…”27
The High Cost of Symbiosis
Although successful in persuading Boniface to remain a general, Augustine was to lose him to the Catholic faith28 – and this was not the least of his losses. Throughout his ministry, Augustine was to feel swamped and stifled by the manipulations of those who, “so press me into
25 Dodaro, “Church and State,” 179. 26 St. Augustine, The Enchiridion, 17, [CD-ROM] (The Catholic Encyclopedia: New Advent, 2007). 27 St. Augustine, Letters, 220.3.
28 Cf. ibid. 220. Interestingly, on hearing of Boniface’s waywardness, Augustine decided that Boniface should become a monk after all and, “not….kill men, but to ‘wrestle against principalities and powers…’ (Eph. 6:12).” (220.12.) He was prevented from recommending this course of action by Boniface’s new wife, however, but concludes with a heavy hint that the marriage should be separated by vows of celibacy, if his wife would consent.
their service that I am neither able to escape them nor at liberty to neglect them.”29 Elsewhere he complains of time stolen from devotion to the Word, and of his prayers being, “marred and weakened by the darkness and confusion arising from secular occupations.”30
His early fears that coercive prosteletization would result in false conversions was correct: “Many bishops found themselves placed, by the Imperial laws, at the head of reluctant, passive communities.”31 Many others joined the church for purely political reasons.32 Augustine’s “Smyrnonian” church was becoming increasingly “Laodicean.”33
According to Brown, “Augustine lived to see violence destroy his life’s work in Africa.”34 Although beyond the scope of this paper, one cannot help but wonder how the African church would have weathered the storms of the fifth century had Augustine’s misguided program not estranged the church from a doctrine of suffering, polluted her with false conversions, and fostered an unhealthy dependence on the buildings, monies and protections of a failing empire.
AUGUSTINE’S POLITICAL THOUGHT
Augustine was not the type of man who would act without a coherent rationale, nor is he one to think in isolation, without writing down his thoughts. For this reason, we should look in the writings of Augustine to explore the question of how he rationalized the symbiosis of church
29 Ibid, 139.3. 30 Ibid, 48.1. 31 Brown, Augustine of Hippo, 412. 32 Ibid, 303. 33 Cf. Rev. 2-3. 34 Brown, 425.
and state within his own ministry, and how he thought this same principle should be applied throughout the empire and church.
Paterfamilias as Model for Christian Responsibility Programmatic to Augustine’s politic is the concept of paterfamilias – that is, a family-
head who bears responsibility for providing for those under his care.35 This care includes an environment of peace for all, and the provisions of material goods,36 and spiritual guidance and restraints for each individual.
This “restraint” is to be carried out, in one’s household, by, “word, or by a blow, or by whatever other kind of punishment is just and lawful.”37 The point should not be passed over that Augustine expects the head of a home to use coercion to legislate faith, as well as character- development in his household.38 A father also provides a sanctuary of peace for those within by taking measures to protect them, and work towards justice in the broader community.39 Since the household is a microcosm of and cell within the larger body of the city, the same rules of discipline must apply in the public sphere as apply in the home. 40 Rulers, too, are to ensure right
35 St. Augustine, The City of God, trans. and ed. R.W. Dyson, The City of God Against the Pagans, (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 944, cf. 1 Tim. 5:8.
36 Cf. Mat. 13:52, where such a man is seen providing for his household. 37 St. Augustine, The City of God, 944.
38 Augustine berates Boniface for the conversion of his daughter into Arianism. St. Augustine, Letters, 220.4; also, Augustine bemoans the failures of his parents to “impose restraints” on the disorder of his youthful lusts, St. Augustine, Confessions, trans. Henry Chadwick, (New York, NY: Oxford Press, 1991), 25.
39 St. Augustine, The City of God, 944-945. 40 Ibid, 945.
action within and protection from without, acting as the paterfamilias over their “household,” for the benefit of all. All such positions of authority are God-ordained, as stated in Romans 13.41
The Evils of the State Framing politics in the cast of a family may smack almost of utopianism, but Augustine is
far from an idealist. He highlights the agony of perpetual strife resulting from military conquest,42 and places greed and vainglory at the center of all such exploits.43 He goes so far as to equate Imperial domination to brigandry, since what pirates do with individual ships Emperors do with their fleets and armies.44 Even once an empire has been formed these evils do not cease, since the protection of borders and international interests, as well as the tumult of civil wars bring an unending source of bloodshed.45 The judicial process is also a great evil, since even the best of judges can never really be sure whether their verdicts have aided or abetted justice.46 All this has been said without even a mention of corruption and willful injustice within the system – a reality to which Augustine was no stranger.47 Further, this condition is one in which humans are placed
41 St. Augustine, Letters, 100.
42 St. Augustine, The City of God, 928-929.
43 Ibid, 212-213.
44 St. Augustine, The City of God,148: Care should be taken here, however, since the state which Augustine is speaking of is a state without justice.
45 Ibid. 94-142. 46 Ibid. 926-928. 47 Cf. Augustine’s description of the corrupt governance of Rome before Constantine, Ibid.
in subservience to others – a concept totally foreign to the original creation, in which all men were created equal, as lords over creation and not over one another.48
Christian Obligations to the State Considering the evils of the state, one may think that a good man – and a Christian most
of all – would feel constrained to avoid office. For Augustine, however, such a hands-off approach would only further implicate one in evil. As he writes:
…it is not benevolent to give a man help at the expense of some greater benefit he might receive, [and neither is it] innocent to spare a man at the risk of his falling into graver sin. To be innocent, we must not only do harm to no man, but also restrain him from sin or punish his sin, so that either the man himself who is punished may profit by his experience, or others be warned by his example.49
A wise judge may cry out, “From my necessities deliver Thou me!”50 –– and yet such a judge would faithfully remain in his post, since “the claims of human society, which he considers wicked to abandon, constrain him and draw him to his duty.”51 A virtuous ruler likewise will not abandon his people, since any improvement in character makes a ruler “more useful to the earthly city.”52 Allowing sin to run rampant is the greatest evil, causing suffering for the victims and perpetrators alike.53
Augustine’s thoughts here clearly flow from the paterfamilias model, mentioned above. In the language of Romans 8, “there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are
48 Ibid,, 942-944. Augustine would also have done well to have mentioned and grappled here with Jesus’ words, which would seem to bar Christians from such positions: cf. Mat. 20:25, Mark 10:42, Luke 22:25.
49 Ibid,, 944-945, italics added. 50 St. Augustine, The City of God, 928, (Psalm 25:17). 51 Ibid, 927. 52 Ibid, 225. 53 That morality is a reward unto itself is Augustine’s major argument in Ibid, 51-93.
established by God,” and “it is a minister of God to you for good,” (Rom. 13:1, 4). Evil men rule out of a desire for mastery, but good men from “a dutiful concern for others.”54 Thus, those who are “good men according to the lights of the earthly city,” are, “more useful” in that office:55 “those who are gifted with true godliness” (e.g. Christians) are better still.56
A Pure Soul in a Troubled Office The Christian with opportunity for state involvement is faced with a dilemma.
Involvement in that state will clearly implicate one in evil.57 However, willingly refraining from said position will allow a God-sanctioned office to remain vacant, or to be filled by a less Godly person. In either case, the Christian does not seem able to escape entanglement in evil.58
The solution which Augustine presented was a sort of spirit/body disconnect. So long as one “fully cherishes” the attitude of love, one may – indeed, must – do those things which are necessary to, with “benevolent severity” correct even against their wishes those “men whose welfare rather than their wishes it is our duty to consult.”59 This benevolent severity extended also – and perhaps especially – to the suppression of religion contrary to Catholic teaching60
54 Ibid, 942. 55 Ibid, 225. 56 Ibid, 225, 232.
57 It is interesting to note that Augustine agrees with Turtullian on this fact, but arrives at a far different conclusion on the basis of it. Compare, for example, Ibid, 926-928 with Turtullian’s words, “Shall he apply the chain, the prison, the torture, and the punishment – he who is not the avenger even of his own wrongs?” Turtullian, in ed. David W. Bercott, A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998), 545.
58 Notice, however, that it is the concept of responsibility for non-Christians which produces this conundrum – but notice the introspective nature of the Gospel community in, for example, Mat. 8:22, 1 Cor. 5:12, 6.
59 St. Augustine, Letters, 138.2.14.
60 Cf. Letters 185, where Augustine petitions Boniface – the Tribune, then Count of Roman Africa – that the laws repressing the Donatists should be carried out.
Augustine further elucidates that the ideal ruler will maintain their pure soul while bemired in office by hating their own part in it,61 by maintaining humility, by using their office to proselytize, by showing mercy, by balancing out severity with generosity, by restraining self- indulgence, and by continuing in piety.62 This pattern applies also and perhaps especially to the soldier and policeman, who are constrained through utilitarian concern even to kill for the state.63
Augustine and War “Nowhere,” writes Frederick H. Russel, “are the paradoxes of Augustine’s thought more
obvious than in his attitudes toward warfare.”64 As the seminal author of what has come to be known as the “just-war theory,”65
Augustine elucidates his theory partially in keeping with the paterfamilias model – but not without difficulty. Since a paterfamilias must use acceptable means to secure peace for his home, war may at times be acceptable so long as it, “should be waged only as a necessity, and waged only that God may by it deliver men from the necessity and preserve them in peace.”66
According to this model, a nation may fight in defense of itself, in order to “avenge injuries,” or “to restore what [a nation] has wrongfully seized”67 – but what is to be said of
61 St. Augustine, The City of God, 928.
63 St. Augustine, Letters, 138.13.
64 Frederick H. Russel, “War,” in Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, Ed. Allan D. Fritzgerald, (Grand Rapids, MI: W.M.B Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009), 875.
65 Richard J. Dougherty, “Citizen,” in Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, Ed. Allan D. Fritzgerald, (Grand Rapids, MI: W.M.B Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009), 194. 66 St. Augustine, Letters, 189.6.
67 St. Augustine, qu Hept. 6.10.
ambush, conquest, and pre-emptive strikes? According to the paterfamilias model and Jesus’ teachings,68 such actions appear immoral.
Augustine’s solution was to look at the Old Testament, to place a Christian nation into the role of Joshua’s Israel,69 and to place the whole world concretely under the reign of Christ. Now, Paul’s words, “For what have I to do with judging outsiders?”70 becomes irrelevant: none are “outsiders.” All are under the broad umbrella of God’s domain. Thus, it is the moral duty of Christian leaders to act as God’s agent in the world, since it is He, working through them, who,
…overthrows the props of vice, and reduces to poverty those lusts which were nursed by plenty, He afflicts in mercy. And in mercy, also, if such a thing were possible, even wars might be waged by the good, in order that, by bringing under the yoke the unbridled lusts of men, those vices might be abolished which ought, under a just government, to be either extirpated or suppressed.71
Thus, Augustine transferred the rationale for an offensive war from a desire for carnal vainglory and domination to an obligation to divine justice. In so doing, he laid the foundation for what would become the Christian doctrine of “holy war.”72
68 Esp. Mat. 5.
69 It is significant that Augustine seems to think of a “Christian nation” exclusively in terms of “Joshua’s Israel.” An interesting course of study would be the similarities between the later Roman Empire and “Isaiah’s Israel,” (cf. especially Isa. 29:13). Perhaps this is the predictable demise of any “Holy Empire.”
70 Cf. 1 Cor. 5:12-13. 71 St. Augustine, Letters, 138.2.14. 72 Russel, “War,” 876.
AUGUSTINE’S ENDURING LEGACY
The City of God A treatment of Augustine’s political theory cannot be concluded without mentioning – at
least in passing – the role which his thought had on the politics of the medieval church. Here, the misappropriation of City of God must be examined closely.
Usually considered a veritable minefield of political theories, The City of God in reality has far more to do with the salvation of the soul than with politics or history. Augustine divides all of humanity into two groups or “cities,” each distinguished by a unifying love: “the earthly by love of self extending even to contempt of God, and the heavenly by love of God extending to contempt of self.”73 Both have their beginnings in the demons and angels.74 Both are, “invisible communities whose duration is coextensive with the history of the world.”75 Both are headed for predetermined ends – the one to life, the other to eternal damnation.76
In opposition to the pagan intelligencia,77 then, Augustine proposed that the citizenship which was “the greatest good”78 was not membership in any temporal city or empire, but eternal citizenship in the City of God – what, “is usually meant by the ‘Communion of Saints’.”79
73 St. Augustine, The City of God,632. 74 Ibid, 449-581.
75 Dyson, “Introduction,” in The City of God Against the Pagans, (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1998), xx.
76 Matt. 25:46, as invoked by St. Augustine, City of God, 1044. 77 Augustine consciously presents his “City of God” in opposition to the Republics of Plato and Cicero. Chadwick, A
Very Short Introduction, 103. 78 St. Augustine, The City of God, 916. 79 Dyson, “Introduction,” xx.
The City of God is in reality an elaborate gospel tract, written to the Roman intelligencia by a former member who very much desired their salvation.80 Simultaneously, it is an apologetic work – bordering on and utilizing polemic – written as, “a definitive rejection of the paganism of an aristocracy that had claimed to dominate the intellectual life of their age.”81 Conscious of the sensitivities of his audience,82 Augustine wrote a book monumental in size, ornate in style, rife with erudite allusions, and containing such a number of digressions and asides as to assume an almost encyclopedic feel and girth. Even the meandering, circular, and frustratingly obtuse83 nature of his discourse is intentional. Augustine is not here laying forth a simple thesis, but creating a labyrinth of thought, a masterpiece which “men of leisure, learned men, [who] must be prepared to read again and again to appreciate.”84
Augustine saw his work as a gift to the church as well as to the pagan elite: unfortunately, however, he saw the world through the lens of his own experience. Vastly underestimating the education of the average bishop even in his own day, he could not have imagined the intellectual decay which would follow on the swiftly-approaching fall of Rome.85 This underestimation was to lead to serious distortions of City of God in succeeding generations.
In 1934, H. X. Arquilliere coined the phrase “political Augustinianism,” to designate the distortion of Augustine which pervaded throughout the medieval period. Now accepted as a
80 This is the gist of Brown’s thoughts, although he does not use the word “tract,” Brown, Augustine of Hippo, 300- 303.
81 Ibid, 302. 82 Cf. Brown, 307f.
83 There is, however, an intricate structure for those willing and able to divine it: cf. an excellent chart in James J. Odonnell, Augustine, (Boston, MA: Twayne Publishers, 1985), 45.
84 Brown, Augustine of Hippo, 304. 85 Brown, Augustine of Hippo, Ibid, 411.
scholarly term, “political Augustinianism” refers to the “tendency of medieval Christendom to obscure the distinction between the state and the church. …[and] between the natural and the supernatural realms.”86
Stated simply, political Augustinianism makes the mistake of equating the “Holy Roman Empire” with “The City of God,” and those outside said empire with “The City of Man.”
Although modern scholarship87 has toiled diligently to show this interpretation up as a shallow and misguided interpretation of Augustine, he cannot be absolved entirely of his responsibility, since he could have taken greater pains to avoid this distortion within his writings.
The Anabaptist reader of Augustine is bound to feel conflicted – finding at once a soul- mate in matters of the piety, and a heretic in matters of ecclesiology.
Perhaps the best way to speak of Augustine’s politics is the language of magnificent failure. If this rhetorician-turned-theologian had one flaw, it would be that his colossal powers of persuasion were at times strong enough even to “overcome” the truth itself.
When turned to the task of expounding and defending the sound doctrine which he inherited, Augustine’s ability was unsurpassed and his contribution is enduring and invaluable. When turned to the dubious task of rationalizing and justifying the ill-conceived marriage of church and state, however, Augustine’s efforts are tragic at best. Augustine solemnized the union between the unlikely bedfellows of church and state with such eloquence and erudition that even
86 Douglas Kries, “Political Augustinianism,” in Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, Ed. Allan D. Fritzgerald, (Grand Rapids, MI: W.M.B Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009), 657.
87 Cf. Jean Bethke Elshtain, Augustine and the Limits of Politics, (Notre Dame, ID: University of Notre Dame Press, 1995), 95f,
in modern times many portions of the “catholic” church are unable to disentangle themselves from his influence.
Perhaps the “simplistic” explanation which shoulders all of the blame on Constantine is accurate after all. Without his misguided contributions, Augustine may have received a far purer ecclesiology to defend, expand and bequeath to future generations. In this case, Augustine’s work may have resounded with a conclusively pacifistic note, permanently disavowing any possibility church/state symbiosis, and thus avoiding the travesties of the Medieval, early Modern, and present-day Christian holy war.
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________. Confessions, trans. Henry Chadwick, New York, NY: Oxford Press. 1991.
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Odonnell, James J. Augustine, Boston, MA: Twayne Publishers. 1985.