Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences


Classical Languages and Literature

First Advisor

Dr. Terence Tunberg

Second Advisor

Dr. David Bradshaw


Much has been said about the influence of Plotinus, the Platonist philosopher, on the ideas of Augustine of Hippo, the Western Church Father whose writings had the largest impact on Western Europe in the Middle Ages. This thesis considers both writers’ ideas concerning matter, evil, and language. It then considers the way in which these writers’ ideas influenced their style of writing in the Enneads and the Confessions. Plotinus’ more straightforward negative attitude towards the material word and its relationship to the One ultimately makes his writing more academic and less emotionally powerful. Augustine’s more complicated understanding of the material world and its relationship to God results in a more mystical and more emotionally powerful style, which derives its effectiveness especially from its use of antithesis and the first and second person.