Attempting to section the writing of Augustine 1,600 years ago into what we mean today by the categories of theology, philosophy, ethics, politics, etc. is treating his work in a way that he could neither have anticipated nor have provided for.
Augustine was thinking and writing before there were clear specialisations of this nature.
Furthermore, Augustine wrote in what today would be termed a multi-disciplinary manner, across the borderrs of many categories.
This usually happened because his work was most often a response - often at the invitation of another - to a real and specific intellectual, moral or theological challenge that was being faced.
For example, the reason he wrote his City of God,
and what he actually then wrote, accurately illustrates this.
He often was not writing as an academic who had the luxury of being able to define and isolate a small portion of thought on which to focus.
Rather, Augustine was most often addressing a practical situation that cut across the boundaries of what we call now theology, philosophy, ethics, politics, etc.
If Augustine was such an influence on the Western Church and Western civilisation, why is he not read more often and quoted more frequently?
The previous paragraphs have already answered this question. Since his time there have been others who have been able to specialise their thinking, either based on Augustine or branching in a new direction in light of the insight that Augustine offered.
And as to politics
, Augustine stated that God, in the Garden of Eden before the sin of Adam, gave humans authority over the beasts (Genesis
1: 26-31) but not over their fellow humans.
Augustine regarded that social hierarchy, inequality, domination, and specifically the keeping of slaves,
were a consequence of the weakness of humanity.
God had not intended them, and they arose as the negative effects of sin.
Augustine held that it was "natural" - and, indeed, necessary - in an imperfect world that the few would rule over the many.
In the anthropology
of Augustine, this happened not in order to satisfy the desire of anyone to dominate, but so that the few in leadership could help the rest of the population in the pursuit of virtue.
(Continued on the next page.)