Academic journal article Theological Studies

What Are They Saying about Augustine?

Academic journal article Theological Studies

What Are They Saying about Augustine?

Article excerpt

What Are They Saying about Augustine? By Joseph T. Kelley. New York: Paulist, 2014. Pp. xix + 258. $19.95.

Kelley's book addresses a comprehensive and historical overview of contemporary scholarship on Augustine. K. is stimulated by the question in the title and asks himself: "Who are they?" (xv, emphasis added). Thus, by setting out to establish a tripartite conversation between Augustine, the historical witnesses of the influence and legacy of Augustine, and Augustine scholars, K. takes a "chronological approach" to exhibit how Augustine's thought was being received and interpreted through late antiquity to the mediaeval, modern, and contemporary worlds (xvii).

The emphasis on historical overview divides the book naturally into three parts: first, in introductory chapters (1-3) K. considers Augustine's life, primary works, and writings on theological controversies. K. then moves systematically through Augustine's literary and ecclesiastical activities. It would have been helpful to present more of a summary and critique of Augustine's texts to serve as a starting point for new readers of Augustine.

While referring to recent studies on Augustine's major treatises, K. also focuses on a surging new interest in Augustine's sermons (including six sermons discovered in Erfurt in 2008) and letters, both of which give eloquent testimony to the religious, political, and social dynamics in Roman North Africa. …

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