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Augustine in His Own Words

William Harmless

Publication Year: 2012

This volume offers a comprehensive portrait--or rather, self-portrait, since its words are mostly Augustine's own--drawn from the breadth of his writings and from the long course of his career

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-8

List of Illustrations

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pp. viii-9

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Introduction: Of Portraits, Voices, and the Art of Mosaic

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pp. ix-xxii

Medieval and Renaissance artists loved to imagine the great saints of the past, how they looked, how they dressed, how they lived. St. Augustine (354–430) was an occasional subject. Most artistic renderings of him, whether in paintings or illuminated manuscripts or stained glass windows, are rather workmanlike.1 ...


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pp. xxiii-xxvi

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The Works of Augustine: Texts and Translations

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pp. xxvii-xlii

Latin texts: Nearly all of Augustine’s works can be found in J.-P. Migne, Patrologia Latina, vol. 32–47. Migne reproduced the excellent 17th-century edition of the Benedictines of St. Maur. This includes almost everything except certain letters (notably the 31 letters discovered by Johannes Divjak in 1980) ...

Map: Fourth-Century Italy and Roman North Africa

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pp. xlii-xliv

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1. Confessions

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pp. 1-38

Confessions is one of the uncontested classics of world literature. Even if Augustine had written no other work, this alone would have insured his lasting fame. Confessions is sometimes described as autobiography.1 Calling it autobiography is at once true and untrue. ...

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2. Augustine the Philosopher

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pp. 39-77

In his earliest publication, Augustine noted: “What is philosophy? A love of wisdom.1 The word’s etymology, he believed, defined the endeavor: philosophy is life shaped by a love-spurred search for wisdom. In late antiquity, philosophy was never a mere academic enterprise.2 It required more than well-honed skills in dialectic, ...

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3. Augustine the Bishop

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pp. 78-121

We think of Augustine as a writer and a theologian. He was both, certainly, but his writing and his theologizing sprang from and were shaped by his very demanding day job. For more than 35 years, Augustine spent his waking hours working as a bishop and pastor of a bustling North African seaport, Hippo Regius (now Annaba, on Algeria’s eastern border).1 ...

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4. Augustine the Preacher

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pp. 122-155

Augustine’s friend, Possidius of Calama, once remarked that “those who read what Augustine has written in his works on divine subjects profit greatly, but I believe that the ones who really profited were those who actually heard him and saw him speak in church.”1 Augustine was, by all accounts, a virtuoso orator, a fact that even enemies acknowledged.2 ...

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5. Augustine the Exegete

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pp. 156-200

First-time readers of Augustine are struck by his deep biblicism. Every page, every paragraph, is threaded with biblical quotations, biblical allusions, biblical images. Augustine did more than comment on the Bible: he spoke Bible, making its words his words. ...

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6. Controversies (I): Against the Manichees

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pp. 201-231

Augustine has often been thought of as a systematic theologian. That is not accurate. He was, by training and by temperament, a controversialist, a debater. Four great debates shaped his career and have come to define his theological legacy. The earliest of these was his debate against his onetime coreligionists, the Manichees. ...

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7. Controversies (II): Against the Donatists

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pp. 232-273

The Christians of Hippo who in 391 seized and ordained Augustine called themselves “Catholics.” They had good claim to the title. Their church was allied with and recognized by a worldwide communion of Christian churches across the Empire. But in 391 Catholics were a local minority, not only in Hippo, but also across the provinces of Numidia and the Mauretanias. ...

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8. Augustine the Theologian: On the Trinity

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pp. 274-314

Theology literally means “speaking of God.” For Augustine and his age, the great theological issue was how to speak rightly about “the Trinity who God is.”1 His classic exposition appears in the fifteen books of On the Trinity (De Trinitate), a work nearly as influential as Confessions. ...

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9. Controversies (III): On the City of God, Against the Pagans

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pp. 315-372

On the City of God (De civitate Dei) is Augustine’s third masterpiece. It is, as he admits in his final words, “a huge work,” running nearly 900 pages in the Latin original.1 Its scope is epic, an ambitious meditation on the contours and meaning of human history, from the genesis of the human race to its final judgment. ...

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10. Controversies (IV): Against the Pelagians

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pp. 373-436

Augustine’s final controversy centered on the issue of grace. This debate, more than any other, would come to define his legacy to later ages, earning him the title doctor gratiae (“teacher of grace”). For Augustine, grace was no wispy abstraction. It lay at the very heart of his life story. ...

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pp. 437-440

Around 421, a man named Laurentius wrote Augustine and asked him to set out the essentials of Christianity. He wanted something brief, “not a work that would tax a whole bookcase,” but rather a work like what Greek writers of his day used to call “an enchiridion, a ‘handbook,’ ” quite literally, “a book the hand can hold.”1 ...

Chronology: The Life and Major Works of Augustine

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pp. 441-446

Suggestions for Further Reading

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pp. 447-468

Index of Scripture

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pp. 469-474

Index of Augustinian Texts

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pp. 475-479

Index of Other Ancient Authors and Texts

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pp. 480-481

Index of Persons and Subjects

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pp. 482-496

Production Note

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p. 542-542

E-ISBN-13: 9780813218045
E-ISBN-10: 0813218047
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813217437
Print-ISBN-10: 0813217431

Page Count: 542
Publication Year: 2012