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Augustine: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Paperback]

By Henry Chadwick (Author)
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Item description for Augustine: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Henry Chadwick...

Augustine was arguably the greatest early Christian philosopher.

This Very Short Introduction traces the development of Augustine's thought, discussing his reaction to the thinkers before him and themes such as freedom, creation and the trinity.

Publishers Description
Augustine was arguably the greatest early Christian philosopher. His teachings had a profound effect on Medieval scholarship, Renaissance humanism, and the religious controversies of both the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. Here, Henry Chadwick places Augustine in his philosophical and religious context and traces the history of his influence on Western thought, both within and beyond the Christian tradition. A handy account to one of the greatest religious thinkers, this Very Short Introduction is both a useful guide for the one who seeks to know Augustine and a fine companion for the one who wishes to know him better.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages   144
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7" Width: 4.42" Height: 0.38"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 7, 2001
Publisher   Oxford University Press
Series  Very Short Introductions  
ISBN  0192854526  
ISBN13  9780192854520  

Availability  0 units.

More About Henry Chadwick

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Henry Chadwick (1920-2008) enjoyed international renown as one of the leading church historians of the twentieth century. He held senior appointments at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, latterly as Emeritus Regius Professor of Divinity, Cambridge. Chadwick's scholarship was complemented by his active involvement in church life. Ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1944, he developed a deep commitment to church unity and took a leading role in the Anglican and Roman Catholic dialogues of the mid-1970s.
Chadwick authored numerous books and articles throughout his career. At Oxford University Press he held series editorship of Oxford Early Christian Texts and Oxford Early Christian Studies, and co-edited the Oxford History of the Christian Church series with his brother, Professor Owen Chadwick. His acclaimed translation of Augustine's Confessions is available from Oxford World Classics.

Henry Chadwick lived in Cambridge. Henry Chadwick was born in 1920 and died in 2008.

Henry Chadwick has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Oxford History of the Christian Church

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Ancient
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Religious
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy

Reviews - What do customers think about Augustine: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)?

A Very Information-Dense Introduction to a Very Complex Figure  Mar 30, 2006
A country-boy-come-to-town who tries to make his mark on secular society while enjoying himself as much as possible winds up an ascetic philosopher/theologian who shapes the course of Western thought for the next several centuries. A profound thinker with a talent for poetic prose, St. Augustine was a prolific writer. More of his writings survive than of any other ancient author.

The book is small, but don't let the size fool you--the typeface is also small. Chadwick crams more information onto fewer pages than you could think possible. The typeface and the dense content lend themselves to a rather tedious reading experience, but the reward is well worth the effort.

Augustine's thought is placed in the context of contemporary society, and the reader learns of the little-known Manichee and Donatist heresies. The way the ancient Church dealt with the Donatist heresy stands in stark contrast to the way the medieval Church dealt with heretics.

Chadwick, of course, discusses the "Confessions" and "The City of God," but he does not neglect Augustine's other writings, taking pains to point out how indebted Augustine was to the Old Testament and the Classical authors (Cicero in particular) for his language, but not his ideas. It is ironic that Cicero, such a mediocre philosopher, had such a profound effect on St. Augustine, such a towering figure in the fields of philosophy and religion.
great for an understanding of St. Augustine  Sep 29, 2003
This compact book is perfect.

It provides just the right background information, from influences of people who lived before St. Augustine to influences of his modern world, as well as lots of other information about the early Christian era & pagan dissidents, numerous similar & conflicting spiritual beliefs -- without getting boring by losing focus on the topic, Augustine, or by focusing on him too much which would mean omitting information about the strata he found his place in.

It offers a great framework of biographical information which sheds much light on Augustine's works.

It also, significantly, contains brilliant scholarly summaries & explanations & assessments of many of Augustine's beliefs without becoming subjective or dry ever.

I recommend this as compulsory background reading for anyone interested in mysticism, medieval history, philosophy, saints, or especially Augustine himself.

A Very Fine Introduction  Mar 21, 2003
Firstly, it should be noted that this book is not 895 pages! It is, in actuality, 144 pages - and it is a detailed 144 pages, too. This is actually the first book I ever read that got me interested in the thought of the early Church Fathers and it is a great introduction to St. Augustine. (The entire series is great, actually.)

Although this book is only a sketch, it provides some really helpful information when it comes to issues such as the Pelagian controversy and Augustine's views on Original Sin. It is interesting to note that although Augustine is held in such high regard by many today, his own ideas were sometimes reviled and considered heretical in his own time. Of course, it is also worth noting that Augustine's ideas are oftentimes completely misunderstood today; people sometimes force later developments onto Augustine.

Due to his continuing controversy - and the man is one of the more controversial orthodox thinkers in the history of the Christian Church - this book is worth reading. For those interested in further reading, the suggested readings in the back are a great place to start (I myself just picked up Peter Brown's autobiography on Augustine). For those who have no desire to become scholars on Augustine, however, this "very short introduction" is a very fine introduction as well. It is a great place to start.

Great intro...  Feb 21, 2003
Man, I wish I had these books when I was in school. Its not an indepth review of all of Augustine's thought & writings, but its amazing how much is packed into this little book (it will literally fit into your shirt pocket). The book will give you a great laymans introduction to Augustine, and you can be sure to impress anyone should your conversation turn towards the topic.

Recommended for the layman, just don't use it to prepare for debates with religious scholars :-)


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