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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PRHS2451 Augustine of Hippo: A Key Thinker in Philosophy and Theology

20 creditsClass Size: 80

Module manager: Dr Tasia Scrutton

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Augustine of Hippo, the fourth and fifth century African philosopher and theologian, is perhaps best-known today for his theodicy and his views on original sin and predestination. In addition to these aspects of his writings, he is also a deeply humane philosopher and theologian whose thinking about God, the nature of good and evil, love, and the search for happiness, time and language have been hugely influential in later debates.This module will explore Augustine’s thought, informed by attention to the context in which he wrote, while also pointing forward to his influence on later philosophy and theology. Students will develop skills in reading primary sources by reading parts of Augustine’s own work, as well as secondary literature on Augustine, and work by later philosophers and theologians that is strongly influenced by Augustine. Students will develop understanding and appreciation of Augustine and other ancient and mediaeval thought, and also apply critical and analytical skills to them.


To familiarise students with the thought of one very influential philosopher and theologian, Augustine of Hippo, in a way that is informed by attention to context and genre.

To familiarise students with Augustine’s legacies in later philosophical and theological thinking.

To foster appreciation of the thought of pre-modern philosophical and theological thinkers, and to enable students to read primary texts for themselves.

To develop students’ capacity to understand and critically appraise philosophical and theological thoughts and ideas.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the module, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the philosophy and theology of one key thinker,
Augustine of Hippo
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the way Augustine’s thought changed over time, and how it
was shaped by his context and the theological and philosophical challenges he faced
3. Demonstrate awareness of Augustine’s impact on later philosophy and theology
4. Demonstrate critical and analytical skills in relation to Augustine’s ideas and arguments
5. Read primary texts by ancient and mediaeval writers for themselves, with relevant attention to
issues such as genre


Representative topics may include: the nature of good and evil; the nature of God; human will and the emotions; creation and time; language and signs; the nature of love, and the search for happiness.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Preparation for seminars: 44 hours
Preparation for essay: 134

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Some class time will be devoted to essay-writing training.
Students will have the opportunity to submit a 1000 word extended essay plan for formative feedback.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:26:28


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