Plato vs. St. Augustine of Hippo Essay

Our universe has developed and flourished by the ideas and parts of many leaders. Among those leaders were Saint Augustine and Pluto. For many historiographers. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and Augustine’s The City of God. are historical pieces that point out what had happened during ancient times. These pieces are important because they shed some visible radiation on different ideas and beliefs of people. Even though these plants do non hold similar universe positions. they attempt to demo counsel to human life and to their beliefs. In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. he teaches a universe position with an illustration of a cave filled with darkness that people indoors should acquire out by happening the truth and seeing the visible radiation. On the other manus. in Augustine’s The City of God. a Christian writer. perceived this universe as a topographic point where the celestial spheres and the Earth coexist. Even though they both showed some similarities on the construct of dualism. these two philosophers had rather different rules and foundational beliefs.

Augustine lived in the clip around the 4th century. He was born in Tagaste. a Roman state in northern Africa. During his life clip. the Roman Empire was on the brink of weakening and subsequently collapsed for good. And harmonizing to Brian Levack. one of the chief ground for the prostration of the one time great imperium was due to invasion from many sides in add-on to the “unwise determinations. weak leading. and Military Failure” in the imperium ( Levack 190 ) . During this clip. Constantine ( AD 272-337 ) strived to Christianize the Roman Empire and therefore Christianity was distributing all over the imperium ; nevertheless. there were arguments and dissensions in the philosophy of Christianity and therefore at that place existed splits among Christians that gave rise to the division in the Roman Empire.

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It was during this clip the thought of Monasticism and Donatism flourished. Grecian and Roman philosophical ideas existed in the 4th century. The beginning of the doctrine is traced back to the classical age of Greece. At that clip. many ideas emanated from different philosophers. each with their ain positions. However. as many would hold. Plato ( ca. 429-327 B. C. E ) was the most outstanding philosophers in the kingdom of ancient doctrine. He was influenced by the scientific ideas of people that existed long earlier him. Since Plato was a pupil of Socrates. his instructions and beliefs have paved a manner for Plato which in bend influenced Aristotle.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. clearly explains his philosophical ideas and understanding. Basically. this work is a duologue between Socrates. his wise man. and Glaucon ( Plato’s brother ) . The work paints a image of captives tightly chained in a cave in an effort to depict the nature of justness –one of the “absolute signifiers. ” Above these captives is a fire that casts a shadow of objects that pass through the manner between the fire and them. He describes that for the captives that are unable to see anything but merely the shadows casted by the objects on the wall of the cave. Plato farther explains that if any one among the captives is set free and is forced to look up to the visible radiation. he will be suffer from its glister on his eyes till he adjusts to it. If told that what he used to detect in the caves was an semblance. he will non be good positive and would instead take to travel back to the cave where he will claim what he sees in the cave is a world.

However. if he is forced to remain in the universe above. he will see the world. the objects themselves: “And foremost he will see the shadows best. next the contemplations of work forces and other objects in the H2O. and so the objects themselves. ” After holding a thorough apprehension of the world in the above universe. if he returned back to the cave. his vision will be filled with darkness and requires clip to set. And even if he does. he. along with his thoughts and believes will non be accepted among other captives. As mentioned above the plants and parts of these philosophical ideas and political orientations had shaped influential people in the universe of Christianity and among them was Augustine. In his early yearss. his parents sent him to Carthage for his rhetorical instruction. During his stay. he was struck by the hunt for truth. And this pursuit led him to the investigation in to the Manichaeism political orientation which was widely spread at the clip.

However. after detecting that the political orientation could non convey the solutions what he was hankering for. he become interested in neo-Platonic thoughts while he was in Milan. This involvement of his compelled him to go a Neo-Platonist
( Gonzalez 210 ) . During the clip of Augustine. Christianity was distributing through the Roman Empire before the clip of its ruin. Besides. divisions occurred in the Empire after the decease of Constantine. who is credited for his effort to unite the churches in the Empire. Levack references that the Huns. Alaric and Vandals played great function that contributed for the prostration of the one time great imperium in the twelvemonth A. D 410 ( 191 ) . In add-on to this. many beginnings point out many grounds for ruin of the Empire. but most of them point their fingers at the transmutation of the Empire to Christianity. Harmonizing to historiographers. Polytheist claims that Christians were more interested to function God than the Empire and have a sense of forgiveness towards enemies. Therefore both polytheist and heathens stressed that the Christian God failed to protect the Empire.

In an effort to turn out Christianity was non a menace. and besides to unclutter the misconception about the allegation that the Church deeply contributed to the Roman prostration. Augustine wrote The City of God. Basically. the work chiefly revolves around two metropoliss: The Earthly metropolis and the Heavenly metropolis. The earthly metropolis is a typical illustration of a topographic point. presumptively inhabited by heathens and polytheist and is found on Earth. On the contrary. the celestial metropolis visits on Earth. He makes a comparing between the two. He says that both are formed by two loves: “the earthly by the love of self” and that of the heavenly by the love of God. While the earthly metropolis pleasances from the glory of itself and its work forces. the celestial opposite number pleasances in the glory of God. The earthly operates on its ain ; that is. with the power. wisdom and regulation of work forces while the heavenly is to the full dependent on God. Augustine criticizes work forces of the earthly metropolis for inordinate pride in their ain wisdom and for unthinkable representations of the image of God they made to idolize. and this work forces that he is mentioning to are neo-Platonists.

Augustine explains the two opposing facets that exist in the metropolis: peace and Conflict. He mentions that the earthly metropolis is characterized by statements. wars. and wrangles. Although triumphs over such facets exist. he claims that it is either “life destroying” or “short-lived. ” On the contrary. he points out that the celestial metropolis is characterized by the being of everlasting triumph and “never-ending” peace. He sets a clear limit between different facets of both the heavenly and earthly metropoliss. He explains the necessity to populate by religion so as to get away the distraction of that surrounds to lead on households. During his clip. since the thought of monasticism and pilgrim’s journey was good known. he encourages that households pattern these thought to their advantage to derive celestial approvals and everlasting peace. and lessen the loads of the organic structure. a outstanding ends of all human existences that live in both metropoliss. However. he contends that their attacks are wholly different: the earthly metropolis has its ain set of regulations designed by the will and desires of work forces.

Besides. the earthly metropolis has political orientations and rules set Forth by philosophers. such as polytheists. who Augustine thinks are foolish for their earthly wisdom and apprehension of the truth. and yet deceived themselves would besides lead on the dwellers of the earthly metropolis: “the earthly metropolis has had some philosophers whose philosophy is condemned by the Godhead instruction. and who. being deceived…supposed that many Gods must be invited to take portion in the involvement in human affairs…” furthermore he explains that there would ever a strife between both metropoliss. and everlasting peace on Earth could be attained through the integrity in idolizing one God. Augustine’s City of God was one of his influence works that left positive Markss on the ideas and beliefs of many coevalss after him. Harmonizing to Michael W. Goheen and Craig G. Bartholomew in Living at the Crossroads. he played a critical function in act uponing the ideas of many that provided constructions for mediaeval civilization. But still they point out that this work of his is a combination of elements of Scripture and neo-Platonism ( 77 ) . This shades some visible radiation on how he was profoundly influenced by Greek and Roman Philosophical ideas prevalent during his clip.

Besides. Goheen and Bartholomew argue that Augustine’s deep submergence in neo-platonic ideas had an inauspicious consequence on the development of western civilization ( 77 ) . This is apparent in most of his plants that “bore a [ n ] eo-Platonic stamp” ( Gonzalez 212 ) . Finally. if it was non for Augustine’s plants. the Christian religion that we have today might be different. It was through his work that became an influential theologist that paved the manner for both medieval and modern Christianity: Walsh and Middleton label him as “the male parent of in-between ages” ( 111 ) . Although some say that his submergence in neo-platonic ideas had negative effects. Gonzalez points out that he was the most quoted theologist in the Middle Ages and therefore “became one of the great physicians of the Roman Catholic Church” ( 216 ) . It can non be denied that his scriptural universe position has some discolorations of Platonic philosophical positions ; nevertheless. some of these ideas have some similarity to the Bible.

For case. Plato assumed that there is a supernatural power which he labels as the “One” which is the ground for the being of everything. Besides. he point out that there is another universe beyond human being –a universe which he calls the “above universe. ” which exists at a higher degree beyond the being of worlds. This premise is kindred to that of what the bible provinces as the Heavens. Therefore. although Augustine’s plants. ideas and universe positions are profoundly influenced be Grecian and Roman Philosophies. he is still the “favorite theologian” and the most outstanding figures for his important parts deeply contributed to the kingdom of Christianity. As a Christian. I was surprised to detect that how these plants are still influential in our universe today. Furthermore. these plants will broaden the heads of Christians in footings of the history of Christianity and its philosophy. Finally I contend that these historical pieces will give a little sense of the theological and philosophical universe positions and broadens 1s understanding.

Plants Cited
Augustine. “The City of God-excerpts on the Two Cities” . Medieval Sourcebook. July 1998. Stephen. Cooper. Augustine for Armchair Theologians. 2002. Print. Plato. “The Allegory of the cave” . The History Guide. May 2004. Goheen. Michael W. . and Craig G. Bartholomew. Populating at the Crossroads. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group. 2008. Print. Gonalez. Justo L. The Story of Christianity. Peabody: Prince Press. 2007. Print. Levack. Brian. Edward Muir. Meredith Veldman. and Michael Mass. The West. N. p. : Pearson Education. 2007. Print. Walsh. Brian J. . and Richard Middleton. The Transforming Vision. Sedatives Grove: Inter Varsity Press. 1984. Print.

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