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Augustine of Hippo Paperback – January 1, 1969


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Paperback, January 1, 1969
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 461 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Paper Back Edition edition (1969)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000I411TW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,288,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By mp on November 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Peter Brown's biography of Saint Augustine, written over 30 years ago, is still as fresh and inviting to-day, finding excited and interesting readers in whoever picks it up. Augustine lived from 354-430 AD. While this may seem remote, Brown has a special gift for making Augustine live through his writing style, which both provides clever and welcome points of modern comparison to Augustine's contemporary events. Another wonderful technique of Brown's biography is to let Augustine, for the most part, speak for himself - it is almost like a mediated autobiography, an expanded "Confessions," if you will.
This manifests itself in the lengthy, but always extremely applicable excerpts that Brown draws for every occasion from Augustine's "Confessions," as well as his other major works, correspondence, religious tracts, and sermons. Brown is as little intrusive as possible, setting Augustine's writings, actions, and speeches in their immediate context. At the same time, Brown's exhaustive research is readily apparent, as he constantly refers to or makes note of the wide range of historical, biographical, and critical scholarship available to him as he wrote.
A key element in Brown's biography is the importance of asserting Augustine's heritage as a particularly African one. Brown recovers and reminds us that for his massive impact on the course of Christian thought, Augustine was tied in remembrance to his native Thagaste, and through his ministry, to the seaside city of Hippo in Northern Africa.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
Peter Brown melds the diverging factors to cover the history of a very complex man. By setting Augustine in his time and place he effecively traces the impacts on Augustine's life, which profoundly affect his doctrines. Make no mistake, Brown is writing an acedemic history, not hagiography. The reader should expect a thorough discussion of history, philosophy and or course religion. The evenhanded nature of the work and its beautiful style are a lesson for all other writers of religious biography.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is the best biography I have ever read. Brown does a superb job of synthesizing an immense amount of biographical and textual information. The book is comprehensive and thorough without ever becoming tedious or heavy -handed. In fact, Brown writes so well that the book would probably be enjoyed by people who are not paricularly interested in Augustine. It is remarkable that Brown can do all of this in fewer than 500 pages, when biographies of figures far less significant than Augustine often exceed 1000. The only limitation to the book is that the author, as he himself freely admits, does not attempt to grapple with Augustine's most profound theological writings such as "The Trinity".
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Melendez on August 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Peter Brown is like a very caring, scholarly and slightly eccentric tutor, of the type grown and revered in England's ancient universities. As a non-scholar on the subject of Augustine and his time, I approached this book wearily, expecting to be ignobly defeated by the middle of, say, chapter two. But such was not the case. My smattering about Augustine, about his Manichaeism, about his saintly mother, Monica, about his "Confessions" and about his conversion by St. Ambrose, all rusty remnants of a fine (but wasted) education, were revived and even rejuvenated by Mr. Brown. His words coaxed ancient neurons to make dendritic connections with their neighbors, so that towards the middle of this longish book I was dealing confidently with Fourth century institutions and had become familiar with some of the philosophical issues that plaged the early Christians. This is Brown:
"A stranger from the provinces [Augustine] would, of course, go to church to find a girl-friend, much as another stranger, the Genoese, Christopher Columbus, will meet his wife in Seville Cathedral."
And about Augustine's desire to seek his fortune as a rethoritian in Milan:
"He would have been like a Westernized Russian in the nineteenth century, established in Paris."
This ability to move back and forth in time to clarify his points is one of the many joys of reading Brown. He is also a master of the right anecdote and of the enlightening "obscure" fact. For instance, he tells us that in the Fourth century the image of Christ was that of a teacher, a philosopher. There were no crucifixes in the Fourth century, and the concept of the suffering Savior did not exist.
The book is as satisfying as a plentiful and well prepared meal, and like a meal, it is to be consumed slowly and respectfully.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have longed owned and treasured this book. A friend said "its like reading a novel', and I agree.Peter Brown is an exemplar of the sort of mind that Oxford used to produce on a regular basis.Augustine of Hippo, Like Dummett's Frege and Charles Taylors Hegel, was typical of the extraordinary scholarship produced by the fellows of All Souls during the late sixties and early seventies. I only envy those who had the chance to study with Brown at Oxford, or who study with him today at Princeton.
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