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398 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY Roman literature and traditions. Augustine had the welcome responsibility of giving to them a Christian interpretation of Roman culture and of history in general. This gave him the opportunity of using Cicero, Plato, Sallust, and the rest to justify the ways of God to Romans in terms of their own traditions and beliefs. He composed The City o] God. The story of this achievement is one of the finest parts of Brown's biography. He describes in detail how Augustine labored with this elite community of Roman refugees not as a bishop but as a philosopher. The City o] God is preoccupied less with the heavenly city than with a realistic critique of Roman history and institutions, and with a reasonable explanation of their downfall. The Pax Romana was a fraudl A true realm of peace and justice is being established in both time and eternity on genuine foundations. His work on this theme gave Augustine the chief satisfaction of his life. Augustine's career and philosophy were not only masterpieces of Christian devotion and reflection, they were the materials of a classic, heroic tragedy. The tension that dominated him he understood very well as an agone, a heroic "wrestling," to use Peter Brown's term. When in the last weeks of his life he saw the Vandals burning his churches, torturing his priests, and coming steadily closer to Hippo with their scorched-earth policy he broke down into "constant and deep" weeping (as his friend and first biographer, Possidins, reports ). He understood theoretically and felt poignantly the essential tragedy of his life and doctrine. He made no attempt to palliate or disguise the stark tragedy of his faith and love. And he sought no comfort amid the ruin of his life-work. Broken-hearted, he bowed before the predestined doom and accepted it not as a martyrdom at the hands of men but as the normal destiny of a resident allen in the City of Earth. The biography closes with a few of Augustine's eloquent expressions of this insight: "Look now at the city, Jerusalem, of which these most glorious things were spoken. On earth it is destroyed. It has fallen to the ground before its enemies; it is now not what it once was. It has delineated an image: this shadow has passed its mea.ning on to somewhere else." [p. 318] "The centuries of past history would have rolled by like empty jars, if Christ had not been foretold by means of them." [p. 318] "In its collective origin, from the evidence of this life itself, a life so full of so many and such various evils that it can hardly be called living, we must conclude that the whole human race is being punished." [p. 328] "The extraordinary and surface effects of the light itself, in sun, and moon, and stars, ia the dark shades of a glade, in the colors and scents of flowers, in the sheer diversity and abundance of chirruping, painted birds... And there is the grandeur of the spectacle of the sea itself, as it slips on and off its many colors like robes, and now is all shades of green, now purple, now sky-blue... And all these are mere consolations for us, for us unhappy punished men: they are not the rewards of the blessed. What can these be like, then, if such things here are so many, so great, and of such quality." [p. 329] "These things are yours, O God. They are good, because You created them. None of our evil is in them. The evil is ours if we love them At the expense of Yourself--these things that reflect Your design." [p. 326] H~a~aT W. SC~r Claremont, Cali]ornia Francis Bacon on the Nature o] Man. By Karl R. Wallace. (Urbana and Chicago: University of Ill. Press, 1967. Pp. 200. $5.75) Considered in its own terms, Karl R. Wallace's book has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It appears to be a careful and faithful representation of Bacon's faculty psychology, which by no means is an easy task. In addition, Wallace has compared this...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 398-400
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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