Hunter to examine teachings of Augustine

Amy Pint

Modern ideas about sex and marriage may have roots as deep as the early Christian period of St. Augustine.David Hunter, professor of philosophy and religious studies, will lecture on “Can Augustine Be Saved? Rethinking Augustine’s Teaching on Sex, Marriage and Celibacy” at 8 tonight in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union.”Christian thinkers have had an enormous impact on the development of Western views of the body, sexuality, marriage and celibacy,” Hunter said.He said St. Augustine, who lived in North Africa during the years of 354 A.D. to 430 A.D., is “blamed for the long-standing Christian tradition that has associated sex with the primal sin of the first human beings, Adam and Eve.”Hunter said he will try to examine Augustine’s thinking within several different contexts in the lecture.”I will discuss his own personal life history, as that is made known in his classic book, ‘The Confessions,'” he said. “I will also place his thinking in relation to that of other Christians of his day. Compared to many of his contemporaries, Augustine is really a moderate; moreover, even on some of his more controversial points, there are positive features of his thought that have not always been noticed or appreciated by his critics.”Hunter, professor-in-charge of the religious studies program, said the lecture is part of his “ongoing work on the history and development of early Christian thought on sex and marriage.””My studies in the history of early Christian thought on sex and marriage have led me to conclude that much of this criticism of Augustine is misplaced,” Hunter said.Sue Stanton, a former student of Hunter’s, said she will attend the lecture.”I find Augustine a fascinating psychological profile,” she said. “I’m also fascinated with the world he lived in and the influence it had on his thought.”