Plato (427-347 B.C.)

          Plotinus (205-270)







Justin Martyr (100-165)

Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.210)

Origen (185-254)






Tertullian (155/60-after 220)       



St. IRENAEUS (120/40-200/203) bishop of Lyon (Lugundum)





Dualist sects



















          HERESY: hairesis



          Donatus (died c. 355)



Arius (c.250-335)












Council of Nicaea 325




                   St. Ambrose (340-397)

                             De Officiis Ministrorum



St. Jerome (347-419/20)




St. Augustine (354-430)

                             Thagaste, Numidia

Carthage: “And so I went to Carthage, where I found myself in the midst of a hissing cauldron of lusts.”


City of God


                             On Christian Doctrine


Teleology (telos = goal, end):

Problem of evil








A few passages from the City of God

(Penguin edition, trans. Henry Bettenson, London, 1984 [1972]


& Book XI, Chapter 18 (p. 449): Good and Evil as Harmony of Contraries:


“For God would never have created a man, let alone an angel, in the foreknowledge of his future evil state, if he had not known at the same time he would put such creatures to good use, and thus enrich the course of world history by the kind of antithesis which gives beauty to a poem. ‘Antithesis’ provides the most attractive figures in literary composition: the Latin equivalent is ‘opposition’, or, more accurately, ‘contra-position’. The Apostle Paul makes elegant use of antithesis in developing a passage in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians,


By means of the arms of righteousness on right hand and left; through glory and ignominy, through infamy and high renown; as deceivers and yet truthful; as unknown and well-known; as dying, and here we are, alive; as punished, and yet not put to death; as full of grief, but always joyful; as in poverty, and yet enriching many others; as having nothing, while possessing everything. [2 Cor. 6.7ff.]


The opposition of such contraries gives an added beauty to speech; and in the same way there is beauty in the composition of the world’s history arising from the antithesis of contraries—a kind of eloquence of events, instead of words. This point is made very clearly in the book Ecclesiasticus, ‘Good confronts evil, life confronts death: so the sinner confronts the devout. And in this way you should observe all the works of the Most High; two by two; one confronting the other.’”


& Book XIV, Chapter 28 (p. 593-94): The Character of the Two Cities:


“We see then that the two cities were created by two kinds of love: the earthly city was created by self-love reaching the point of contempt for God; the Heavenly City by the love of God carried so far as contempt of self. In fact, the earthly city glories in itself, the Heavenly City glories in the Lord. The former looks for glory from men, the latter finds its highest glory in God, the witness of a good conscience.   . . .

          Consequently, in the earthly city its wise men who live by men’s standards have pursued the goods of the body and of their own mind, or of both. Or those of them who were able to know God ‘did not honour him as God, nor did they give thanks to him, but they dwindled into futility in their thoughts, and their senseless heart was darkened: in asserting their wisdom’—that is, exalting themselves in their wisdom, under the domination of pride—‘they became foolish, and changed the glory of the imperishable God into an image representing a perishable man, or beasts or reptiles’—for in the adoration of idols of this kind they were either leaders or followers of the general public—‘and they worshipped and served created things instead of the Creator, who is blessed for ever’ [Rom. 1.21ff]. In the Heavenly City, on the other hand, man’s only wisdom is the devotion which rightly worships the true God, and looks for its reward in the fellowship of the saints, not only holy men but also holy angels, ‘so that God may be all in all’ [1 Cor. 15.28].”


& Book XV, Chapter 1 (p. 595): The Two Lines of Descent of the Human Race, Advancing from the Start towards Different Ends:


. . .  “I classify the human race into two branches: the one consists of those who live by human standards, the other of those who live according to God’s will. I also call these two classes the two cities, speaking allegorically. By two cities I mean two societies of human beings, one of which is predestined to reign with God for all eternity, the other doomed undergo eternal punishment with the Devil. But this is their final destiny, and I shall have to speak of that later on. [See Books 19-22]  . . .

. . .   Scripture tells us that Cain founded a city, whereas Abel, as a pilgrim, did not found one. For the City of the saints is up above, although it produces citizens here below, and in their persons the City is on pilgrimage until the time of its kingdom comes. At that time it will assemble all those citizens as they rise again in their bodies; and then they will be given the promised kingdom, where with their Prince, ‘the king of ages’ [cf. 1 Tim. 1.17], they will reign, world without end.”












                                                          anachoresis: ANCHORITE

                                                          HERMIT: desert





                                                          St. Anthony (c.251(?)-c.356)

                                                          St. Pachomius (c.290-346)