Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Philosophy, Science and the Sciences

SE Augustinus, De beata vita

Helmig, Christoph

Thur. 14-16, FRS 191, 4031 

According to Max Pohlenz Greek ethics is eudaimonistic. By this, he meant that the various philosophical schools in antiquity agreed that knowledge of how we should live and act is dependent upon knowledge of the nature of the best human life. The dialogue “De beata vita”, an early text of the late ancient philosopher and church father Augustine (354-430 AD), stands at the end of a long tradition of philosophical thought devoted to the question which (way of) life leads to happiness (eudaimonia). The text is interesting because the author connects key motifs found in the ancient debates about eudaimonia (especially in Cicero and the Neoplatonist Plotinus) with elements of early Christian philosophy. “De beata vita” thereby represents an extraordinarily instructive and entertaining example of the Christian reception of ancient philosophy.

 

Bibliography

 

  • Aurelii Augustini Contra academicos. De beata vita. De ordine. De magistro. De libero arbitrio, ed. W.M. GREEN & K.D. DAUR , Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina (CCSL 29), Turnhout 1970
  • Augustinus, De beata vita . Über das Glück, mit Anm. u. Nachw. von. I. SCHWARZ-KIRCHENBAUER und W. SCHWARZ, Stuttgart 1989 (first ed. 1982)
  • E. KÖNIG: Augustinus philosophus. Christlicher Glaube und philosophisches Denken in den Frühschriften Augustins. München 1970
  • B.R. VOSS, Der Dialog in der frühchristlichen Literatur, München 1970
  • J. RIST, Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized , Cambridge 1994
  • M. MENDELSON, ‘Saint Augustine’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (November 2010): http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/augustine/