Discerning the Good in the Letters and Sermons of Augustine

By Joseph Clair | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

At the heart of this book stands a central claim about the mystery of happiness: friendship, for Augustine, is the clearest sign and foretaste of a happiness to come in eternity. This thought brings me joyful hope and overwhelms me with gratitude for the many friends who have made this book possible. In revising the manuscript I have been struck by the many voices I hear within my own—the sound of many conversations with friends and colleagues kind enough to read and discuss these ideas with me over the past few years.

The manuscript for this book found its beginning in Princeton University’s Religion department and was completed at George Fox University. My time at Princeton was replete with joy, friendship, and thoughtful conversation. I owe a special debt of gratitude to my supervisor, Eric Gregory, who is one of the friendliest and most gregarious people I have ever met. His unassuming leadership and mentorship have been a constant source of support in my life, then and now. I cannot imagine a happier place than Princeton’s Religion department for graduate study. There I learned not only what it means to be a scholar but also what it means to be a teacher. Jeff Stout, who is a master craftsman in the art of teaching, deserves special praise. He truly pours his life into his students, and it was a special privilege to have spent time under his care. Along with Eric and Jeff, Melissa Lane in Princeton’s Politics department and Robert Dodaro, OSA, of the Patristic Institute in Rome, together formed my dream dissertation committee. Their collective wisdom and counsel helped me find my voice and flourish.

During my time at Princeton it was my good fortune to learn from an incredible group of scholars both inside and outside the Religion department, all of whom shaped this book: Leora Batnitzky, John Bowlin, Peter Brown, John Cooper, Robert George, David Miller, Nan Keohane, and Cornel West. For encouragement, insight, and camaraderie also I want to thank my good friends and colleagues from that season: Alda Balthrop-Lewis, Shira Billet, David Decosimo, Adam Eitel, Molly Farneth, Jacob Florer-Bixler, Sam Goldman, Drew Harmon, Davey Henreckson, Leah Hunt-Hendrix, David

-vii-

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Discerning the Good in the Letters and Sermons of Augustine
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents xi
  • Texts and Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Degrees of Good 9
  • Interlude - Augustinian Oikeiōsis 39
  • 2 - Household Goods 48
  • 3 - Public Goods 75
  • 4 - Private Goods 107
  • 5 - Eternal Goods 130
  • Conclusion 167
  • Bibliography 173
  • Index 185
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