Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia

Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia

Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia

Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia


This volume examines the famed 4th century bishop and seminal thinker, Augustine of Hippo. 140 leading Augustinian scholars explore his life and his influence on Western thought during the past two millennia.


Augustine through the Ages presents the work, thought, and influence of a single, significant person from Late Antiquity: Augustine of Hippo (354430). As with any encyclopedia, it provides a starting point: making Augustine's thought and the literature about Augustine more accessible to readers of diverse interests and backgrounds.

This book gathers together the work of nearly 150 scholars whose academic backgrounds include classics, history, philosophy, political science, and theology. They come from Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia and have collaborated in a work of almost 500 entries, providing a compact overview of many topics, along with appropriate bibliography. This fruitful collaboration among scholars of varied fields of competence witnesses to the fact of his influence through the centuries since his time and to the value attributed to this thought. In fact, one of the values of the book is the joining of perspectives from different ages, thus providing a representative body of material about and insight into Augustine and Augustine studies.

Entries in Augustine through the Ages include articles on his life, thought, work, and influence. A gifted man with great insight into both the natural and spiritual worlds, Augustine returned often to the thought both that everything created was good and that the enduring world of eternity was the goal of human searching. In that context, he relied on both strong friendships and an intense grappling with his interior self: seeking knowledge of himself and of God. Immersed in the world and its affairs and, at the same time, in the church and its needs, Augustine found a measure of peace in the confession of God's mercy and in the recognition of his own pride. Thus he reflected on the everyday experience in view of the happiness that all desire. “Confession” was much more than a word that provided the title of one of his works; its focus, beyond a concern with sin (en. Ps. 7.19; qu. ev. 2.33; ep. 140.24), was also on prayer (confessio laudis: f. et symb. 9.16; s. 37) and on belief (confessio fidei: cf. Rom. 10:10; en. Ps. 146.14; spec. 39).

Tracing the influence of Augustine and of his ideas constitutes a significant part of this book. In that context, there are articles on the classical and the Christian influences on him as well as general overviews of his impact on historical periods, e.g., the fifth century and the Renaissance. In addition to that general background for understanding the legacy of Augustine, other entries treat specific individuals: those in his own time, both those who influenced him and those who were influenced by him. Hence there are entries on Plato and on Adolf von Harnack, on Evodius, Alypius, and Martin Luther. By describing or tracing the links that these individuals had to Augustine, these articles also manifest a portion of Augustine's continuing presence through Christian history and the varied contexts within which Augustine was read and interpreted.

The works of Augustine, more than 5 million words of which have been preserved, are an integral part of the development of Western thought, from . . .

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