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The Republic of Grace: Augustinian Thoughts for Dark Times Paperback – October 12, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; First Edition edition (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802865089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802865083
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,072,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Writing with a strong sense of urgency, Charles Mathewes engages St. Augustine as he takes the measure of our ‘dark times.’ We need not despair, he tells us. Instead, we must recover the language and possibility of hope, a virtue we are in danger of losing. . . . A gracefully written, engaging work, The Republic of Grace demonstrates why Mathewes has become one of his generation’s most important interpreters of Augustine.”
— Jean Bethke Elshtain
University of Chicago

“Mathewes reminds us that faith, hope, and love give shape to politics as well as personal life. His Augustinian reflections for dark times serve the same purpose as the great theologian’s sermons and writings. He gives us confidence in the direction of history, without making us too sure of our own place in it. He urges us to take responsibility for the actions of our nation, without forgetting the judgment of God. These are perennial themes, but Mathewes gives them fresh relevance for the post–9/11 world.”
— Robin Lovin
Southern Methodist University

“Charles Mathewes has rapidly developed respect in the scholarly guild for his first-rate scholarship offering a renewal of Augustinian public theology for our time. The Republic of Grace marks Mathewes’s turn toward the communication of this rich tradition to a broader audience. . . . A major contribution to Christian political (and ecclesial) theology.”
— David P. Gushee
Mercer University

“We do live in dark times, and Charles Mathewes is right to think that sustaining hope under such circumstances is one of the central challenges of our politics. He is also right to insist that the Christian churches have a crucial role to play in meeting that challenge and that they cannot do so faithfully without taking the heritage of St. Augustine seriously. Mathewes is one of the keenst interpreters of that heritage in his generation.”
— Jeffrey Stout
Princeton University

About the Author

Charles Mathewes is associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia. His other books include Evil and the Augustinian Tradition and A Theology of Public Life.

More About the Author

Charles Mathewes is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He spent much of his childhood in Saudi Arabia, and was educated at Georgetown University and the University of Chicago.

He works mostly in theology and ethics, with some attention to religion, politics, society, and culture as well. In 2003 at the age of 34 he was appointed Editor of The Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the flagship journal in the field of religious studies, and is the youngest editor ever of that journal, where his tenure ended in 2010.  He is also Associate Editor of the forthcoming third edition of the Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics, and currently serves on the House of Bishops Theology Committee of the Episcopal Church.

He lives with his family outside Charlottesville, Virginia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Filthy McNasty on December 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Charles Mathewes, as best I can make out, is a politically liberal guy. I am a politically conservative reader. And in this book Charles Mathewes is telling me how I should approach my politics using Augustine as my guide. Had I known that going in I very much doubt I would have ever picked up the book, but I heard a Mathewes interview on Mars Hill Audio that intrigued me. As you read along below, remember, I'm gave this book three stars (I don't have the option for 3.5).

I have to mention some of his politics first. He blithely refers to the "Soviet bogeyman" and writes of the Cold War that "the expectation of those captured by the totalitarian imagination ill-fit the evidence we possess" because, he writes, we are becoming more and more peaceable (despite 70-100 million dead at the hands of communism during just this last century). When he refers to Hugo Chavez as a leftist, he puts leftist in scare quotes.

He opens his chapter on 9/11 by pointing out that the odds of you being killed in such an attack is vanishingly small, and thus our concerns over terrorism are overblown, as if our reactions to 9/11 were about our fear of being killed ourselves. Perhaps some people did feel that way but I've never met one, I've never heard one speak, and in the hundreds or thousands of books/articles/commentaries of conservatives I've read since that time I can't recall a single one that reasoned that way. I have, however, read many on the Left saying this is what the conservative argument is all about, and Mathewes seems to put himself in that camp rather squarely. Suffice it to say, I disagree.
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