Human goodness, as such, seems on the surface a contradiction in Augustine's thought since he sees the human condition as essentially bankrupt without the grace of God. I contend that the idea of human happiness is a vital component of any thorough understanding of Augustine's understanding of human existence which includes any possibility of human goodness. To that end, this paper examines Augustine's early dialogue The Happy Life, that he conceives and writes at Cassiciacum, and his Sermon 150 that he preaches twenty-seven or twenty-eight years later at North African Carthage. I suggest that the theme of happiness is fundamentally the same in these two very different samples of Augustine's writing. This present examination of The Happy Life, coupled with the much later Sermon 150, will illuminate the theme of happiness in Augustine's thinking. The reasons for Sermon 150's selection will be addressed in more detail below, but the sermon's principal subject is human happiness and engages this theme directly. Further, my comparison raises the serious question about the continuing Augustinian concern with human happiness. Specifically, did Augustine's conception of happiness change between the years 386 and 418-19?


Issue contains the subject matter of the 1994 Philosophy Colloquium, which had the theme "Augustine on Human Goodness: Metaphysics, Ethics and Politics." It was held April 7-9, 1994.



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