Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo -- Philosophy, Küng, Hans, 1928



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 85 leaves, 28 cm.)


This paper attempts to compare the ecc1esio1ogies of the fourth century Bishop of Hippo and the controversial twentieth century theo1ogian. In doing so, a study is made of each writer independently in order to extract his conceptual models of the Church. Special significance is given to the names each attributed to the Church and the consequences of these names as they pass from an analogical to an ecc1esio1ogica1 sphere. A study is also made of the functions of office within the Church with respect to the fulfillment of specific ministries. Here the two divide, Augustine meets the Donatist challenge by condemning disunity, while urging contemporary Christians to true internal reform, reminding them of the necessity of grace available only through the Church to heal their natures. Special attention is given to two specific topics from Augustine: the use of force to compel at least outward conformity, and the belief in the inability of man to do any good outside the Body of Christ. Kung diverges in another way in different times. He emphasizes the communal nature of the Church as those called by God and, on earth, represented by the ministry of ecclesiological office, including Ecumenical Councils and the Papacy. The Church, according to Kung, is the Kingdom of God moving towards manifestation and must reflect its apocalyptic nature by its witness and proclamation of the Word. He finds fault with the teaching office of the Church for its adherence to verbal propositions and concludes advocating a non-propositional attachment to kerygma.

The contrast between the writers is sharply emphasized by a comparison of their positions on certain points, including authority, the Papacy and finally the four marks or distinguishing characteristics of the Church. The attitudes towards the first two differ markedly on some points, but a consistency of approach towards the four marks of the Church, with the exception of the Apostolic characteristic, can be seen. Several conclusions are propounded but the essence of each lies in the attitude of each writer towards human nature. Augustine finds the same wholly depraved without grace, which is given through the Word and human collaboration. Kung finds a response to divine call sufficient and is less concerned with limits on freedom in the name of love of neighbor. The interplay between these two schools of thought has punctuated Church history in the same manner as it does human history.


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