Marriage and Virginity

Cover image for

Marriage and Virginity

Study Edition
translated by
Ray Kearney
introduction by
David G. Hunter
edited by
John E. Rotelle, OSA
Page Count
251 pages
Publication date
Cover image for
Study Edition
    About the book

    This volume presents new translations of five of Augustine’s works: The Excellence of Marriage, Holy Virginity, The Excellence of Widowhood, Adulterous Marriages, and Continence. These works discuss marriage, sexuality, procreation, and virginity (or celibacy) and their place in Christian life and salvation.

    As is often the case, the specific content and direction of these works is guided by Augustine’s desire to address and correct what he saw as errors propagated among Christians at the time. Some of these errors promoted marriage over celibacy; while others insisted celibacy is the superior path to holiness. Overall, Augustine strove to highlight the goods of both states of life, and to emphasize that while celibacy might be the “greater good,” practicing it does not automatically make one a better person or Christian than someone who is married.   

    Augustine’s opinions and beliefs on these subjects changed over the years before, during, and after his conversion. Presenting his works in chronological order in this volume, therefore, allows the reader to follow the development of his thinking. 

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    About the author

    Augustine of Hippo is one of the greatest thinkers and writers in the Western world. After becoming a Christian he was made bishop of Hippo in Africa, where he was influential in civil and church affairs. His more than 100 books, 200 letters, and 500 sermons have left a lasting impact on Western philosophy and culture. His classic and best-selling works include The Confessions, The Trinity, The City of God, and Teaching Christianity.