"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, March 28, 2022

Augustine's Influences, Contexts, and Legacies

It is not often that a publisher proclaims a collection of essays "an indispensable resource for those looking to understand Augustine’s place in religious and cultural heritage," but given some of the contributors, and the editors, especially David Hunter (who has a chapter in my own recent book), this seems like no exaggeration: Augustine and Tradition: Influences, Contexts, Legacy , eds. David G. Hunter and Jonathan P. yates (Eerdmans, 2021), 501pp. 

Augustine, of course, has for some time been a convenient whipping-boy in the hands of those fourth-rate bloggers and other half-wits who pass themselves off as Orthodox apologists in our day. Some of that nonsense began to be dismantled with the publication in 2008 of the invaluable book Orthodox Readings of Augustine, which you should definitely read alongside this new one, about which the publisher tells us this:

Augustine towers over Western life, literature, and culture—both sacred and secular. His ideas permeate conceptions of the self from birth to death and have cast a long shadow over subsequent Christian thought. But as much as tradition has sprung from Augustinian roots, so was Augustine a product of and interlocutor with traditions that preceded and ran contemporary to his life. 

This extensive volume examines and evaluates Augustine as both a receiver and a source of tradition. The contributors—all distinguished Augustinian scholars influenced by J. Patout Burns and interested in furthering his intellectual legacy—survey Augustine’s life and writings in the context of North African tradition, philosophical and literary traditions of antiquity, the Greek patristic tradition, and the tradition of Augustine’s Latin contemporaries. These various pieces, when assembled, tell a comprehensive story of Augustine’s significance, both then and now.

Contributors: Alden Bass, Michael Cameron, John C. Cavadini, Thomas Clemmons, Stephen A. Cooper, Theodore de Bruyn, Mark DelCogliano, Geoffrey D. Dunn, John Peter Kenney, Brian Matz, Andrew McGowan, William Tabbernee, Joseph W. Trigg, Dennis Trout, and James R. Wetzel.

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