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Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (New Edition, with an Epilogue) Paperback – August 7, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Revised edition edition (August 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520227573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520227576
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A great biography of the greatest father of the church, and an introduction to the intellectual world of late antiquity. A deeply engrossing work of scholarship, recently reissued."--"Washington Post Book World

About the Author

Peter Brown is Rollins Professor of History at Princeton University. Brown is the leading English-language authority on St. Augustine; his many books include Society and the Holy in Late Antiquity (California, 1982), Body and Society (1988), Power and Persuasion (1992), Authority and the Sacred (1995), and The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, A.D. 200-1000 (1996).

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Take advantage of the index; it is very well done.
Thomas J. Brucia
These categories satisfied a young Augustine until he realized that this good force of light was effectively passive against an active evil force of darkness.
Peter Ramming
Peter Brown's Augustine is one of the finest biographies of a churchman, theologian, saint, evangelist or reformer I have ever read.
Quentin D. Stewart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Oswald Sobrino on March 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Peter Brown has accomplished what a scholarly biography should: make us feel that we have come to enter the life and mind of the subject of the biography. Brown's chapters are relatively short and thus make reading this long book pleasurable because you can make identifiable progress in your reading. Brown also has copious citations to the works of Augustine for those who wish to track down a quote. In addition, he has added an epilogue that actually corrects the flawed judgments he made in the first edition over thirty years ago (this is a humility rare in academic circles). The epilogue also has a chapter on new writings of Augustine that scholars have uncovered since the first edition of his work. My only wish would have been for more theological exploration of the theme of predestination which is presented in a superficial manner. As a Catholic, I would also have preferred more explicit exploration of Augustine's relations with the popes of his time. But, all in all, Brown has written and updated a great biography that deserves its stature as the definitive biography of Augustine. I heartily recommend it.
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148 of 156 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Brucia on May 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
I can only agree with other reviewers that this is an excellent biography... A suggestion to readers: Peter Brown, in this new (2000) edition, has added two chapters - as an Epilogue: 1.New Evidence, and 2.New Directions. Since his original work dates back to 1967, I would strongly suggest one FIRST read these two chapters, then move through the body of the biography, and finally reread the two "Epilogue chapters". (Don't ignore the footnotes; they're annotated!). Some of Brown's conclusions have changed in the past 33 years! --- Take advantage of the index; it is very well done. Some illustrations: "Jerome, acrimonious correspondence with Augustine," "Baptism, of infants," "Africans, love of puns and acrostics," "Pelagius, annoyed by the Confessions," etc. Skimming the index provoked me into re-reading several different bits. --- Brown's gift for expression (and his willingness to make judgments!) shine out everywhere. Here's a single paragraph to demonstrate: "The congregations who heard Augustine preach were not exceptionally sinful. Rather, they were firmly rooted in long-established attitudes, in ways of life and ideas, to which Christianity was peripheral. Among such men, the all-demanding message of Augustine merely suffered the fate of a river flowing into a complex system of irrigation: it lost its power, in the minds of its hearers, by meeting innumerable little ditches, by being broken up into a network of neat little compartments." --- An extremely helpful tool is Brown's inclusion of a "Chronological Table" at the beginning of each of the five sections of this work.Read more ›
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Travis M. Strow on September 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
I just finished this book. On the whole I enjoyed this book thoroughly. A nice feature of this work is how it puts everything Augustine said into the historical surroundings, which makes reading primary sources more easily understandable as you understand the historical context they were written in. As an accomplished historian over this time period, Peter Brown is more than able to accomplish this task. Historical settings shown include: the backgroud of what growing up in Africa would have been like for Augustine, the beautiful imagery describing what Augustine's baptism (by Ambrose) and initiation into the Catholic Church would have been like, how conflicts with the Donatists, Manicheists (and of course) Pelagianists all came about and how Augustine dealt with them all, and the list goes on. My only concern is that I read the 1st edition of the book, and I've been told there are additional parts added in a revised 2nd edition which might interest me. However, that is hardly a fault of the book itself, (just a case of me being cheap by buying a used copy) so my review is the full 5 stars.

A nice reference on Augustine is "Augustine Through The Ages: An Encyclopedia" by Allan Fitzgerald & John Cavadini; which may also interest readers as well. I have browsed through it in a library and hope to get a copy when the funds are available; it looked very promising to say the least. If you want to understand the theology and history of the Western/Latin Church, it is very hard to do so without knowing at least some basics of Augustine's theological distinctives and stances. Texts like Brown's biography here is a nice first step in understanding the old Saints thought.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 21, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written in 1961 while at Oxford, yet here given subsequent "New Directions" from additional historical developments, provides a provocative and captivating read of a most influential Christian, bishop, theologian and writer.
Augustine is truly a gem of the church catholic, in a time of transition from one world power to another. Late Rome in Africa is so fascinating. Never before has it been brought to me the significance and the breath of this, yet here Brown does truly make one thirst for more. And I trust that this would be the highest compliment to his massive effort here, that one is stimulated for more of Augustine and his times.
Truly this should be read and judged by its intended scope, a history, a biography, not a theological or philosophical work. He achieves his purpose convicncingly with what he had at the time. Amazed at the continuity and yet slowly opening maze of issues, personalilities, and cultural developments that the author maintains, yet all the time revolving around the inner tensions and development of this amazing individual.
His background in Cicero and rhetoric served the church so well in his later years, as did his stints in Platonism and Manicheeism provide the necessary connects to his sigificant contributions to the spread of the early church and their bouts with Donatism, paganism and Pelagianism.
Certainly has awakened my appetite to further study into this great Christian. As the 576 pages go so easily from the words of this fine writer, you will enjoy this read as well.
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