Perhaps no individual after Paul exercised an influence on t he history of Christianity comparable to that of Augustine (354- 430). Beyond a doubt the greatest of the Latin Church fathers, he lived during the years when the formative period of the Christian Church was drawing to its close. By the time of his death, the polity, the doctrine, and many of the practices which the Western Church was to carry into the Middle Ages were already clearly recognizable, if not finally set. It was the contribution of Augustine, during the last half of a long and eventful life, to sharpen, expound, and expand upon so many different aspects of the Christian faith and in such a convincing (though sometimes inconsistent) way that there was no significant restatement of Roman Catholic doctrine for more than eight hundred years after his death. When the early Protestants of the sixteenth century wished to return to what they held to be true Christianity, they did so through Augustine. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "7. Jerusalem: St. Augustine. Pt. I: Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem: Background of Western Civilization." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 96-108.