st. augustine church

Late Have I Loved You

- by St Augustine

Late have I loved you,
Beauty so ancient and so new,
late have I loved you! Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong,
I, misshapen.You were with me but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being
were they not in you.You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance,
I gasped, and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Whoever is born anywhere as a human being, that is, as a rational mortal creature, however strange he may appear to our senses in bodily form or colour or motion or utterance, or in any faculty, part or quality of his nature whatsoever, let no true believer have any doubt that such an individual is descended from the one man who was first created

In studying Aristotle’s philosophy, Puritans learned rationales for human hierarchy, and they began to believe that some groups were superior to other groups. In Aristotle’s case , ancient Greeks were superior to all non-Greeks. But Puritans believed they were superior to Native Americans, the African people, and even Anglicans—that is, all non-Puritans. Aristotle, who lived from 384 to 322 BCE, concocted a climate theory to justify Greek superiority, saying that extreme hot or cold climates produced intellectually, physically, and morally inferior people who were ugly and lacked the capacity for freedom and sell-government. Aristotle labeled Africans ‘burnt faces"— the original meaning in Greek of “Ethiopian"—and viewed the "ugly” extremes of pale or dark skins as the effect of the extreme cold or hot climates. All of this was in the interest of normalizing Greek slaveholding practices and Greece’s rule over the western Mediterranean. Aristotle situated the Greeks, in their supreme, intermediate climate as the most beautifully endowed superior rulers and enslavers of the world. “Humanity is divided into two: the masters and the slaves, or, if one prefers it, the Greeks and the Barbarians, those who have the right to coomand and those who are born to obey,” Aristotle said. For him, the enslaved peoples were 'by nature incapable of reasoning and live a life of pure sensation, like certain tribes on the borders of the civilized world, or like people who are diseased through the onset of illness like epilepsy or madness"

By the birth of Christ or the start of the Common Era, Romans were justifying they slaveholding practices using Aristotle’s climate theory, and soon the new Christianity began to contribute to these arguments. For early Christian theologians—whom Puritans studied alongside Aristotle—God ordained the human hierarchy. St Paul introduced, in the first century, a three-tiered hierarchy of slave relations—heavenly master (top), earthly master (middle), enslaved (bottom). “He who was free when called is a slave of Christ” he testified in 1 Corinthians. “Slaves” were to “obey in everything those that are your earthly masters, not with eyeservice as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord.” In a crucial caveat in Galatians 3:28, St. Paul equalized the souls of masters and slaves as “all one In Christ Jesus.”

All in all, ethnic and religious and color prejudice existed in the ancient world. Constructions of races—White Europe, Black Africa, for instance—did not, and therefore racist ideas did not But crucially, the foundations of race and racist ideas were laid. And so were the foundations for egalitarianism antiracism, and antislavery laid in Greco-Roman antiquity.antiquity. “The deity gave liberty to all men, and nature created no one a slave,” wrote Alkidamas, Aristotle’s rival in Athens. When Herodotus, the foremost historian of ancient Greece, traveled up the Nile River, he found the Nubia. “the most handsome of peoples.” Lactantius, an adviser to Constantine I, the first Christian Roman emperor, announced early in the fourth century: “God who creates and inspires men wished them all to he fair, that is, equal.” St. Augustine, an African church father in the fourth and fifth centuries, maintained that “whoever is born anywhere as a human being, that is, as a rational mortal creature, however strange he may appear to our senses in bodily form or colour or motion or utterance, or in any faculty, part or quality of his nature whatsoever, let no true believer have any doubt that such an individual is descended from the one man who was first created.” However, these antislavery and egalitarian champions did not accompany Aristotle and St Paul into the modem era, into the new Harvard curriculum or into the New England mind seeking to justify slavery and the racial hierarchy it produced.

From “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” By Ibram Kendi

a hard read but fucking brilliant. shit!

Young Man Holding a Book

Master of the View of Sainte Gudule

(Netherlandish, active ca. 1485)

The heart-shaped book this sitter holds is probably a prayer book; he is depicted before a view of the church of Sainte Gudule in Brussels, where a mass is performed by a priest in the background.

The man’s identity is unknown, but he may have been a member of a confraternity or guild with a particular devotion to Saint Augustine, whose symbolic attribute was a heart surmounted by a flame.

It is possible this formed the right wing of a devotional diptych; as such, the shape of the book would echo the open form of two joined, arch-shaped panels.

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved You! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with You. Created things kept me from You; yet if they had not been in You they would have not been at all. You called, You shouted, and You broke through my deafness. You flashed, You shone, and You dispelled my blindness. You breathed Your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for You. I have tasted You, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for Your peace.
—  St. Augustine, The Confessions