Saint Augustine says Christianity existed before Christ

There is an extraordinary quote appearing in Theosophical literature that is by Saint Augustine, the early church father. It effectively has Saint Augustine asserting that Christianity existed before Christ. The source of this amazing quote is not always given and is a bit difficult to obtain. John Rau knew the source of this quote but recently had to do some research to find a copy of it in print. This valuable information he then published in his Kali Yuga Rag for Summer of 1998. Here is what he reported:

Saint Augustine, 354-430, a major Church Father and Neoplatonist (to which he turned from dualistic Manichaeism before converting to Christianity), wrote his Retractions in 426, desiring "to compile and point out all those things which displease me in my works."

A while back at one of our weekend theosophical gatherings we touched on this work during a presentation and discussion on Perennial Philosophy in which the following quotation from chapter 12, part 3 of The Retractions was read. Augustine is commenting here on a previous book of his entitled On the True Religion.

"For what is now called the Christian religion existed even among the ancients and was not lacking from the beginning of the human race until 'Christ came in the flesh'. From that time, true religion, which already existed, began to be called christian. ... For this reason, I said: 'In our times, this is the Christian religion,' not because it did not exist in Former times, but because it had received this name in later times" (Italics by Rau).

This is certainly interesting from the standpoint of the theosophical reminder that all great religions spring from an original truth that is worn out and dogmatized over time and then with efforts repeated, re-presented again and again over long ages in various forms of myth, science, philosophy and moral teaching.

It is also interesting that after the copy of The Retractions we used for our discussion found it's way to The American Section Library, and I discovered that it is definitely not included in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers set of books shelved in our Michigan library, and after setting out and tiring of trying to locate a second hand copy, two new book supply services, one Catholic and the other Protestant in specialty, could not, one would not, order a copy at retail. It is in print. We finally turned to the Internet and had success with, and even there only after feeding in just the ISBN# 0-8132-0060-1 that I took from Books in Print (thank goodness for real books) leaving blank the sections calling for author and title. The quotation above is taken from page 52 and is printed by The Catholic University of America Press, Washington, D.C.

6/28/98. John Rau is associated with Theosophy In Michigan

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