Saint Augustine (Penguin Lives Biographies)

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9780143035985: Saint Augustine (Penguin Lives Biographies)

For centuries, Augustine of Hippo¿s writings have moved and fascinated readers. With the fresh, keen eye of a writer whose own intellectual analysis has won him a Pulitzer Prize, Garry Wills examines this famed fourth-century bishop and seminal thinker whose grounding in classical philosophy informed his influential interpretation of the Christian doctrines of mind and body, wisdom and God.

Saint Augustine explores both the great ruminator on the human condition and the everyday man who set pen to parchment. It challenges many misconceptions ¿ among them those regarding his early sexual excesses. Here, for students, Christians, and voyagers into the new millennium, is a lively and incisive portrait of one who helped to shape our thought.

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Saint Augustine by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and cultural critic Garry Wills is a 145-page biography of a saint whose collected works total 13 volumes. Despite its brevity the book offers a complex and compelling interpretation of Augustine's life and work. Much of Wills's task is demythologising: Augustine was not a central figure in 4th-century Christianity but was "peripheral in his day, a provincial on the margins of classical culture" who did not know Greek, the intellectual lingua franca of his time. Although Augustine has been portrayed by artists as a bishop "wearing all the episcopal finery of the late Middle Ages" he actually "dressed in the grey clothes of a monk". And far from being a self-righteous pontificator, Augustine was "impatient with all preceding formulations, even his own". He wrote, "Since it is God we are speaking of, you do not understand it. If you could understand it, it would not be God". Wills also argues that Augustine's Confessions (Wills persuades the reader that this is an anachronistic, egoistic translation of the original Latin title, a word Wills more accurately renders as "Testimony") has been misread in a way that suggests Augustine led a debauched sexual life before his conversion. However, in the Shocking Revelation department Wills does find more detailed (if elaborately coded) information about Augustine's mistress and about the son they raised together than other biographers have found. Like in his masterful Lincoln at Gettysburg, in Saint Augustine Wills accomplishes his aims to set the record straight completely and yet lightly. Wills makes his arguments without ever forgetting his first job: telling the story of a life. -- Michael Joseph Gross

From the Publisher:

Pulitzer Prizewinner's compellinglife of 4th-century bishop
For centuries, Augustine of Hippo’s writings have moved and fascinated readers. With the fresh, keen eye of a writer whose own intellectual analysis has won him a Pulitzer Prize, Garry Wills examines this famed fourth-century bishop and seminal thinker whose grounding in classical philosophy informed his influential interpretation of the Christian doctrines of mind and body, wisdom and God.

SAINT AUGUSTINE explores both the great ruminator on the human condition and the everyday man who set pen to parchment. It challenges many misconceptions – among them those regarding his early sexual excesses. Here, for students, Christians, and voyagers into the new millennium, is a lively and incisive portrait of a man who helped to shape western thought.

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 180 x 127 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Pulitzer Prize winner Garry Wills brings the same fresh scholarship, lively prose, and critical appreciation that characterize his well-known books on religion and American history to this outstanding biography of one of the most influential Christian philosophers.Saint Augustine follows its subject from his youth in fourth-century Africa to his conversion and subsequent development as a theologian. It challenges the widely held misconceptions about Augustine s sexual excesses and shows how, in embracing classical philosophy, Augustine managed to enlist pagan authors in the defense of Christianity. The result is a biography that makes a spiritual ancestor feel like our contemporary. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143035985

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