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Augustine of Hippo: A Life Hardcover – September 21, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199568308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199568307
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,316,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The author's ability to sketch out issues and viewpoints is one of the strengths of the book. So is his grasp of the many challenges facing Augustine as bishop of Hippo in a time of endemic crisis. ... Summing Up: Recommended."--CHOICE

"No writer excelled at that exacting form, the short biography, better than Henry Chadwick (1920-2008) ... . In Augustine of Hippo, posthumously prepared for print by his devoted widow, he returned to the greatest of the early Church Fathers to write a biography that is a delight from start to finish, and a marvel of scholarly distillation. ... Chadwick's biography is a rewarding read."--Weekly Standard

"It is always a pleasure to read great writers who are also great scholars. The wealth of what is found in this short book does not need to be emphasized. Reading a book by Henry Chadwick is always chock-full of choice delicacies. . . To read it [Augustine of Hippo] is to be treated to an adventure, savoring both Augustine's life and that of the delightfully human scholar who wrote about him. One should not delay the pleasure."--The Catholic Historical Review

About the Author

Henry Chadwick (1920-2008) enjoyed international renown as one of the leading church historians of the twentieth century. He held senior appointments at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, latterly as Emeritus Regius Professor of Divinity, Cambridge. Chadwick's scholarship was complemented by his active involvement in church life. Ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1944, he developed a deep commitment to church unity and took a leading role in the Anglican and Roman Catholic dialogues of the mid-1970s.

Chadwick authored numerous books and articles throughout his career. At Oxford University Press he held series editorship of Oxford Early Christian Texts and Oxford Early Christian Studies, and co-edited the Oxford History of the Christian Church series with his brother, Professor Owen Chadwick. His acclaimed translation of Augustine's Confessions is available from Oxford World Classics.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 6 customer reviews
I was wrong about this book.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is trying to "catch up" on Christian history.
Chadwick's biography may be the best.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Daniel R. Smith on October 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this a fascinating and illuminating journey into the world of 4th/5th Century African Christianity in its engagement with the philosophical thought of late antiquity. It also gave clarity to the pastoral practice of a man who was as much concerned for the well-being of people as he was his theological ideas. Augustine is very much a product of his time, not merely a defender of Catholic orthodoxy or conservative sexual morals. Chadwick makes it clear that he was the shepherd of his flock, for good or for ill. The prose is captivating and readable, and the book is accessible - and short - enough to newcomers to be a helpful introduction to Augustine's thought, and perhaps more importantly, to the life he led. Great read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JimtheBaptist on March 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was wrong about this book. I mistakenly thought it was a short, "easy reading" feel-good book to make up for Peter Brown's monumental academic biography which I struggled with but made it through. I knew I was in trouble when the forward was challenging . . . I look and lo and behold its written by . . . Peter Brown . . . nooooooooooo!

Having said that, Chadwick's Augustine is actually an extremely concise and clear commentary that compliments and illuminates Brown's book. No, it's not light. But I got a much better understanding of the various philosophies, world views and culture of the time period, plus a greater sympathy for Augustine as a real person burdened with iconic status even during his lifetime. "His misfortune was to become treated as a towering authority in the history of western Christianity in a way that he himself would have strongly deplored."

So Augustine doesn't seek out the career and struggles and battles that find him. And he is such a prolific writer on hot topics that there is inevitably much to agree and also disagree with. He even revises himself with his own "Reconsiderations." Centuries later people use Augustine to justify their own actions good and bad. For those looking to the past for a hero (myself included), Augustine seems to clearly want to redirect our attention to God. For those looking for a great church history writer, Henry Chadwick seems to me to be a pretty good start . . .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Strobhar on March 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A well written overview of Augustine's life. However, I was hoping for more of a summary of his theology. The book provides some background material that is not in Augustine's autobiography, Confessions, but much of the material is obviously the same.
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