In the malaise that characterized Roman culture of the 3rd and 4th centuries, several religious leaders attempted to find a synthesis between the increasingly influential Christian faith on the one hand, and a lingering paganism on the other. Many of these passed with little long-term impact, but among them, two were important because of the effect each had on the life experience and thought of Augustin (or, Augustine). The first of these that we will consider is Manichaeism, and the other is Neo-Platonism.
Manichaeism was founded by Mani in the mid-third century, and represented a typical example of syncretism, that is, a religion attempting to borrow from many traditions to produce a new and improved religious outlook. History is full of such attempts, but in the case of Manichaeism, the effect was exaggerated because of Augustin's participation in the movement for several years before his conversion.
As you consider this material, ask yourself how similar religious movements have surfaced in contemporary culture, and how the Christian faith should respond to such movements.
This wide ranging course starts with the pre-Socratic philosophers of the ancient world, and traces the history of philosophical speculation across the ages up to the present. Included along the way is special attention to the greatest Christian thinkers in history, including Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and many others.