Archive for February 18th, 2013

Augustine for Armchair theologianPurchase:  Amazon

The book is supposed to be an introduction to the great Church father Augustine. The author spent the bulk of the book on Augustine’s autobiography, The Confessions. It made me want to read The Confessions alongside this work either as a commentary or as a “cliff note.” However, with the book’s title, “Augustine for Armchair Theologians,” one would expect the book to be broad enough to cover Augustine’s life and theology rather than spending 175 pages out of 222 on the The Confession alone. It doesn’t do justice to Augustine, especially for a work that’s suppose to be a guide for “arm chair theologians,”since there is so much more to Augustine than just his conversion; he was also a prolific writer and thinker, and from what I understand, the man has written over ninety separate works. I would have loved for the book to have explore some of these lesser known writings by Augustine and also for the book to further explore Augustine’s view of the Trinity and his contribution to it’s theological development. Writings by Augustine that the author did explore was rather brief, such as The City of God. Having read portions of The City of God, I wished the author could have expounded more upon it as I found Augustine’s reasoning and argumentation in the beginning of this classic to be witty and insightful. At times I thought the author was too sympathetic with Augustine’s theological opponents. While recently I have had second thoughts and desire to revisit my understanding of the Donatists’ position for fear that others might have caricatured it, nevertheless I was somewhat taken aback with the author’s sympathies with Pelagius and his followers. Again, the strength of the book was really it’s extensive discussion of The Confession and according to statements in the book, the author taught courses on it and must have been his area of expertise.

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