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Saint Augustine of Hippo: An Intellectual Biography
 
 

Saint Augustine of Hippo: An Intellectual Biography [Kindle Edition]

Miles Hollingworth
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Review

This is a book whose style and feel are really worthy of Augustine himself - humane and probing, full of telling metaphor and seriousness about the strangeness of human experience. It is capable of doing for a new generation a great deal of what Peter Brown's epochal biography did half a century ago. --Rowan Williams

Product Description

Augustine was one of the West's first public philosophers. Intellectually brilliant and a gifted writer, he is known primarily as one of the great figures of Christian late antiquity. In this new biography we encounter him through the complexities of his remarkable personality. Miles Hollingworth demonstrates that it was as a personality that he turned against his Age to explore the shocking relevance of one life to God and history. His autobiography, the Confessions, is held up by many today as the first truly modern book.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 735 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum; 1 edition (6 Jun 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CWD10DO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #360,010 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Miles Hollingworth is a Professor at the Patristic Institute, the Augustinianum, in Rome, where he teaches St. Augustine of Hippo's thought and spirituality.

He grew up in South Africa, before leaving to study at Durham University, in the United Kingdom.

He writes as a philosopher who is broadly interested in the Western intellectual tradition - its key texts and figures.

He is the author of 'The Pilgrim City: St. Augustine of Hippo and His Innovation in Political Thought' and 'Saint Augustine of Hippo: An Intellectual Biography'.

He is currently working on two new book commissions from Bloomsbury Publishing: 'Inventing Socrates' and then 'Ludwig Wittgenstein: An Intellectual Biography'.

He has held fellowships at a number of institutions and has also won awards from the Royal Society of Literature (Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction) and the Society of Authors (Elizabeth Longford Grant for Historical Biography. His book 'The Pilgrim City' was shortlisted for the Royal Historical Society Gladstone History Book Prize.

For more information...

www.mileshollingworth.com

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars St Augustine of Hippo: An intellectual Biography 14 Nov 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author is almost dauntingly clever and this is not an easy read or a crib of St Augustine's life in fact it is better approached if your have read "Confessions." The clue is in the subtitle, it is an examination of the intellectual climate, background and reading which helped to shape the mindset of one who was perhaps the greatest influence on the early Church and whose ideas still flow through to the present day. I found it a very rewarding and instructive read with much worth returning to.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I cannot exactly ask the recipient of this books to send a review to Amazon; it was sent to this address then gift wrapped and presented.
It is enough that the recipient is delighted.
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Amazon.com: 2.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging but requires much thought 20 Aug 2013
By William Meyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author has assembled a most interesting biography, but one which will be difficult for some readers. This is not unexpected, given the subtitle. It is a pleasure to read a volume which has been written by a skilled practitioner of English; we are so seldom able to exercise our minds on such meaty prose. This volume will reward the effort applied. It is rich in content, and offers much food for contemplation.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Choose carefully 9 May 2014
By Stephenwolf - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
With excited and hopeful anticipation I awaited the "intellectual biography" of Augustine, but within the first 2-3 pages (and confirmed as I proceeded, and looked around in the work) it was clear that it would not be a clear presentation of Augustine's intellectual history.
The author might want to write another work on his personal observations, musings, insights, thoughts, etc on life, history and world, and even Augustine...but not in an intellectual bio of this important figure, the alleged subject of the work. Augustine was at best visible as if thru the swirling fogs of Hollingworth's descriptions. A better title would be: "Augustine's Development as I See It".
If you are interested in trying to discern Augustine through the thoughts, observations and insights of the author, then you can get two for one. But, to my reading -- I will never finish my copy -- it was something like 1/3 Hollingworth to 2/3 Augustine. Augustine was there; and an expert might enjoy the commentary and etc. But, for those who want 90% Augustine and 10% author, this is not your book.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Studious 5 Jun 2014
By Avid reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In spite of all the accolades by a variety of critics listed above, this book contains little more than the tortured and torturing musings of a man who wants to show off how learned he is. Though the chapter headings might give the impression that this "intellectual" biography proceeds in some sort of chronological order, don't be fooled. Everything is cooked together in a seemingly endless porridge of supposedly deep thoughts. The first few pages, which are to tell you about Augustine's origins in Africa, make reference to such disparate figures as the 18th century woman of letters, Madame de Staël, the unlikely pair of 20th century novelists James Baldwin and Evelyn Waugh, the 18th century mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace, the 20th century physicist Arthur Eddington and the 20th century psychologist C. G. Jung. You get the drift! Is all this "intellectual" firepower actually helpful or even necessary? I can assure you that it is not. If you want to read a biography ("intellectual" enough for my taste) turn to the masterful work of Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo, recently updated by the author. If this book is too long for you, choose Henry Chadwick's short but important study of the same title. For a more impressionistic reading of Augustine's life and work you can also turn to the brief but thoughtful study by Garry Wills. If you have moved beyond these introductions, turn to John Burnaby's Amor Dei: A Study of the Religion of St. Augustine. There is, fortunately, no shortage of insightful studies of this giant of Christian thought. Mr. Hollingworth's study does not belong into that group. You can save yourself the trouble (and expense) of trying him out.
3 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A PRECISE ANALYTIC OF AN AMORPHOUS CHARACTER 23 Sep 2013
By Gary Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Mr. OSTENTATIOUS LEARNING: This book is an insult to any intelligent reader of history &/or biography.
--xx--
GCM: That is because you would have to understand what an "intellectual biography" is. Hollingsworth first sentence states "In writing this book I have had the sensation of having written the story of one of the world's great novelists." This, for me, cracked open a quandary of considering what kind of "thinker" Augustine is. Augustine was primarily & fundamentally trained as a "rhetorician" in the classical sense which was thoroughly trained in philosophy, logic, and political action/theory on the model of Protagorus, Gorgias, Socrates, Plato, and most of all Aristotle who said sound education had to begin with experience in the agora speaking to others, the proper formation of the `enthymeme', the learning of the different forms of political systems based on the premise of "man is a political animal" which Aristotle means quite literally, and THEN the learning of the finer points of "ethics" which Aristotle shows begins as a process of "habituation" by parents. Aristotle shows then that ethics is born by activity with others mainly through language as properly formed. Hollingworth picks up on this exactly with his first book on Augustine's innovations in political theory.
--xx--
The main point is, I have discovered in my own reading of Augustine, is that Augustine ALWAYS writes "correctly", not "randomly" or "impulsively" or "authoritatively" or most certainly not "authoritatively" like Aquinas `seems' too (but Aquinas' very precision of terminology limits his words precisely to only exactly what they say and not how you `feel' they say) or "systematically" like `Spinoza' (or rather like Christian Wolf and Baumgarten) or Hegel (if even that is justified). The very need to have constant "qualifiers" shows in real philosophy or theology "if/and/but" constant follows upon every statement thus making that statement equivocal. They are vastly limited in actual precision. Augustine does not ever try for systematic precision like Aquinas or Aristotle (with it being highly questionable they deliberately tried to do this themselves) or Plato who immediately in his dialogues with every delimitation of a concept immediately tags to it his own "qualifiers". Augustine writes as a "rhetorician" which is mainly in our time a "novelist" like Dostoyevsky, the present pope's favorite, or Thomas Pynchon. They present, like Plato, all sides - though seeming to incongruously emphasize `one' side - and at the end of the "conversation" leave everything in the air.
--xx--
Mr. OSTENTATIOUS LEARNING: Its subject as well as his philosophy and its impact on Western thought and Christianity are fascinating and worthy of many biographical and analytical works. But this book is not worthy of being included in that list. The author is apparently recognized by some as an authority on the saint. However, I found that while I could define all his vocabulary without resort to a dictionary, making sense of his sentences was beyond my ability. I got the impression that the author used this book to show off his verbiage but didn't know how to connect his words into intelligible sentences. The other possibility is that he didn't care about turning out meaningful thought. In the latter case, he should be deprived of his teaching position. In the former case, he requires immediate and intensive remedial instruction in English composition. The subtitle of this book is "An Intellectual Biography". It should be renamed "A Pedantic Biography".
--XX--
GCM: You should rely less on an "impression" as you say, and more on logical analysis if you would have seriously taken Augustine for a philosopher - which you do not and Hollingworth does.
11 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ostentatious "learning" 28 Aug 2013
By see above - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is an insult to any intelligent reader of history &/or biography. Its subject as well as his philosophy and its impact on Western thought and Christianity are fascinating and worthy of many biographical and analytical works. But this book is not worthy of being included in that list. The author is apparently recognized by some as an authority on the saint. However, I found that while I could define all his vocabulary without resort to a dictionary, making sense of his sentences was beyond my ability. I got the impression that the author used this book to show off his verbiage but didn't know how to connect his words into intelligible sentences. The other possibility is that he didn't care about turning out meaningful thought. In the latter case, he should be deprived of his teaching position. In the former case, he requires immediate and intensive remedial instruction in English composition. The subtitle of this book is "An Intellectual Biography". It should be renamed "A Pedantic Biography".
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