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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Augustine of Hippo: A Life, 24 Feb 2010
This a masterly work by a master of his subject. Augustine was one of the most subtle minds of antiquity, and a man who explored his own mind by putting it into words of compelling power. Through the survival of his works he also played a decisive role in forming the mind and shaping the theological and political discourse of Western Europe until quite recent times. The late Henry Chadwick has written a study of this astonishing man which is at once clear, penetrating and accessible. While locating Augustine in the (to us ) strange intellectual and social setting of the late Roman Empire, he opens up issues in Augutine's life and thought which still have the power to bother us.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Augustine of Hippo, by Henry Chadwick, 6 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Augustine of Hippo: A Life (Paperback)
Henry Chadwick is an excellent writer. This book, like his history of the early Christian church,is a delight to read. The man is clear in his presentation of the facts and issues and makes all, even the most complex events and ideas that he recounts stand in a new, a better light than other accounts that I have read of Augustine.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Augustine as Christian and man, 12 Dec 2009
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Henry Chadwick describes his work as an attempt to "introduce (Augustine) and his ideas in the intellectual and political context of his age". In doing so he addresses two fundamental problems when trying to make sense of Augustine: the remoteness in time and character of the late classical world from our own; and the many-sidedness of Augustine. He was a scholar, orator, philosopher, teacher, writer and bishop; a person at the heart of the ancient world and its encounter with Christianity; someone inwardly divided and conflicted between who he found himself to be and that to which he aspired. In that last he has exercised his most powerful contemporary appeal, but it is an appeal that has resonated down the centuries, and provoked the finest minds to grapple with his sombre estimate of human nature. The shadow of his thought falls over the history of Christian thought, rising to especial prominence at moments of crisis. Both Luther and especially Calvin recognised in his restless introspection a framework with which to make sense of issues that time and again come to haunt Christianity: freedom and grace, and the nature of the Church in the world. In modern times the greatest Christian theologians can be understood as Augustinians,and they are drawn from both sides of the divide created by the Reformation: Karl Barth, Hans von Balthasar and Joseph Ratzinger.

Chadwick's achievement is to link a thorough understanding of Augustine's intellectual hinterland in Neoplatonism and Manichaeism with his developing maturity as a Christian leader and teacher. Augustine the bishop is as powerfully delineated as the writer and thinker: "The experience of doing the work of a bishop made far deeper and more obvious changes in Augustine's character than even his conversion at Milan ten years before... Shouldering the initially highly unwelcome responsibilities turned him into a great man such as he would never have become had he remained a professor of rhetoric".

This insight perfectly captures what all who seek to follow Christ recognise through experience: that the transformative nature of discipleship comes above all through self-sacrificing immersion in daily life and the service of others. Chadwick's insight gives authenticity not only to Augustine's measure of holiness, but also to his own achievement as an interpreter of Augustine. The book is a condensation of a lifetime of study and learning. Like all such works it is marked by clarity and brevity that reveal the depths of knowledge and understanding on which they are based. This achievement evokes admiration and gratitude in the reader, which are movingly expressed in Peter Brown's gracious introduction, a fine example of one master of his field saluting another, something sadly rare in a scholarly world so often disfigured by small-minded envy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A key figure in the development of Christianity, 17 May 2014
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A fascinating account of an intriguing figure of Christian belief. This biography captures the important phases of this key figures life and examines the other faiths that were available at the time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Introducing Augustine, 18 Jan 2013
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Henry Chadwick's books are always stimulating and this is no exception. If like me you had always planned to read about Augustine but never got around to it, this short book is an excellent way to begin. Augustine' s life and times and his opinions are sketched out in a clear, easy to understand way and in a way sympathetic to Augustine showing his good points and his bad ones!
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Augustine of Hippo: A Life
Augustine of Hippo: A Life by Henry Chadwick (Paperback - 5 Aug 2010)
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