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Since his retirement as Archbishop of Canterbury and his return to academic life (Master of Magdalene College Cambridge) Rowan Williams has demonstrated a massive new surge of intellectual energy. In this new book he turns his attention to St Augustine.
St Augustine not only shaped the development of Western theology, he also made a major contribution to political theory (City of God) and through his Confessions to the understanding of human psychology. Rowan Williams has an entirely fresh perspective on these matters and the chapter titles in this new book demonstrate this at a glance - 'Language Reality and Desire', 'Politics and the Soul', 'Paradoxes of Self Knowledge', 'Insubstantial Evil'. As with his previous titles, Dostoevsky, The Edge of Words and Faith in the Public Square this new study is sure to be a major contribution on a compelling subject.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
This is a book that I have been waiting all my adult life to read - though I did not realise it ... Again and again, I put this book down and wished that it were compulsory reading for all those who, in our public forum, think that they are engaging in intelligible conversations when they are merely mouthing sounds. -- A N Wilson * New Statesman * Rowan Williams is a superb and sophisticated advocate for Augustine against his critics ... His On Augustine is a brilliant example of how classical Christian theology thinks for the present by close re-reading of great thinkers of the past. * Professor Frances Young, University of Birmingham * This book is one of the most substantive, wide-ranging and provoking theological engagements with Augustine's corpus available in English - and it is one of Williams' finest theological texts. Augustine is embraced, but also creatively stretched and resisted; to watch this movement is to see Williams performing his vision of how the Christian tradition should be engaged. * Lewis Ayres, Professor of Catholic and Historical Theology, University of Durham * Augustine provides us with the proper foundation for a thought-through faith. It is this, a commitment to an "open" Augustinianism, which makes this book worthwhile, and a useful antidote to the readings that try to use Augustine as a soldier in their own doctrinal and cultural wars. * Catholic Herald * Rowan Williams is sometimes described as the 'godfather' of Radical Orthodoxy. He is certainly a fan of Augustine and in this new collection of essays that were written over the past 25 years he answers many of the great theologian's critics ... there are a great many passages that make the reader stop and reflect and appreciate a new insight. * Church of England Newspaper * A powerful vision of the concerns which underlie and integrate Augustine's work ... All readers will hear, and be moved by, the voice of a writer for whom theology, spirituality, and investigation of the human condition are as intimately connected as they were for Augustine * The Tablet * This book is essential, but challenging, reading for anyone to whom Augustine matters. It is the result of 25 years' profound thinking and lecturing on the questions it covers and has a depth and range which mere historians of Augustine's lifetime will struggle to follow. The range of this book cannot be summarized in a review. It is stratospherically intelligent and a heartfelt appreciation of Augustine's similar strengths. * Robin Lane Fox, New College Oxford in Theology * The essays in this excellent book bring Augustine's theology to life so that he becomes a contributor to ongoing theological conversation. This book deserves a wife reading. It will benefit clergy, seminary students, theologians, Augustine scholars, and more. Every seminary and university library should have it. * Anglican Theological Review *