In this essay I defend the idea that Augustine's conversion to Christianity is compatible with the practice of the art of medicine, and that bodily health plays a more prominent role in his understanding of the fall and salvation than his critics have previously thought. I address these concerns with reference to the different perspectives from which Augustine views the body in his early works: biblical, metaphysical, and empirical. Both in his commentary on Genesis in the De Genesi ad Litteram Imperfectum and in treatises such as the De Libero Arbitrio Augustine integrates these three perspectives into his interpretation of the creation of the natural order and the human body's place in that order. In doing so, he maintains a balance between faith and reason that enables him to reconcile the biblical view of the natural order wit the classical theory of the four elements on which the art of medicine depends.
To accomplish this task I inquire into three aspects of Augustine's early works that pertain to the care of the body. First, I document the fact that Augustine was not immune to bodily illness, and that he was aware of the existence of doctors. Second, I show how Augustine balances the creation of the natural order with the practice of the art of medicine. And third, I examine the extent of the knowledge of the art of medicine that Augustine acquired from his acquaintance with doctors and from his own observations.