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Summary

These 12 illuminating lectures paint a rich and detailed portrait of the life, works, and ideas of this remarkable figure, whose own search for God has profoundly shaped all of Western Christianity. You'll learn what Augustine taught and why he taught it – and how those teachings and doctrines helped shape the Roman Catholic Church.

These lectures are rewarding even if you have no background at all in classical philosophy or Christian theology. Professor Cary explains any special religious or philosophical concepts you need to know in order to appreciate Augustine's impact, with real-life examples and analogies that make even the most subtle concepts clear and easy to understand. You'll gain a sense of what Augustine was saying, how his own experiences led him to say it, and how his thoughts fit into the theological, philosophical, and political worlds that swirled around him.

First, you'll study Augustine's life, with a three-angled look at the Confessions, his great spiritual autobiography, written when he was a 45-year-old bishop. Then, you'll investigate key concepts of Augustine's thoughts on faith and love, grace, original sin, the Church, and more. And finally, you'll gain a greater familiarity with Augustine's concept of persons, both human and divine, by focusing on his great work, The City of God.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©1997 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1997 The Great Courses

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I love this

Professor Phillip Cary is hilarious, wish he was my university lecturer. Please never stop being funny

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Useful but generally uninspiring introduction.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. The lecturer here was informed and by no means a bad speaker but he did not manage to extract much fun from his subject. Perhaps there is little to be had with Augustine. I thought the informal, discursive style of the lecturer would have injected some lightness but it did not - there is frequent stumbling, repetition, and no really interesting asides, so perhaps a fuller lecture 'script' would have been the way to go here.

If you’ve listened to books by The Great Courses before, how does this one compare?

One of the least - it is the shortest of the Great Courses lectures I have come across though so perhaps there is inevitably more scanning of the subject and less time for anecdotes and sidetracking.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Professor Phillip Cary?

David Brakke's Gnosticism lectures are the closest in subject matter that I have listened to in the Great Courses series. They are delivered somewhat more formally but I found them much more appealing.

Could you see Augustine: Philosopher and Saint being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

If we are staying true to the spirit of these lectures we have to go with someone that we know is 'important' but that we don't really care about. I am going to say Sean Penn.

Any additional comments?

None.

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  • Kevin Crabtree
  • 23-04-15

Very thoughtful and well executed.


I'm in the process of committing 200 hours this year to studying philosophy. I have listened to many other great courses philosophy series and found them enlightening. I wasn't expecting much in particular from this particular course but the contributions this man made to western thought simply cannot be ignored. many of these ideas are still alive and well in both contemporary religious and secular thought. well done, teaching company. and a great value, as well.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • AlexIndia
  • 12-02-16

Core principles

I found it to be a very easy lesson and enjoyed it very much. However I think that the serious listener will have to listen to it two or three times to fully absorb the detailed meaning. There is a new biography on audible about Augustine. I would strongly suggest listening to it after reviewing this lecture. Then follow up with the other great course on Augustine. I personally am not Catholic but enjoyed this course all the same.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Adam McMillan
  • 28-02-16

Good, but problematic in parts.

In chapter 9 the professor gives an incorrect teaching about Augustine's understanding of the sacraments. He says that Augustine believed they were signs rather than efficacious signs. This completely contradicts Augustine on the necessity of infant baptism and his teaching in De Doctrina Christiana. He concludes the lecture by declaring that Augustine should have taught something else about baptism, since it contradicts his teaching on sacraments. Maybe the professor should have realized that what actually happened was that he misunderstood Augustine's sacramental theology rather than Augustine misunderstood himself.

Otherwise the lectures are basically good, but the professor is too quick to criticize Augustine, and his lip service to "Augustine is Catholic, but not Catholic Catholic" is silly. Augustine clearly believed in the hierarchy of the Church and if he reappeared on earth today would have very little sympathy with protestants.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 06-02-18

Is THAT where we get our theology??

Fascinating.... And bizzare. I'm not sure I can follow Augustine's logic much of the time - it's like saying "A probably = B. A, therefore B. If B then C. Almost B, therefore C. C+D+E < F. Therefore, the doctrine of the church shall be F." I think he digs himself into holes with all his ad hoc solutions to logical absurdities. But, so they tell me, we have him to thank for the state of many things in Western thinking, and since Western thinking > any other thinking, therefore Augustine must have been right.

Professor Cary did an honourable job of presenting Augustine's ideas objectively, while still providing a human perspective.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • tony Diko
  • 01-03-16

Awesome

Great job Augustine . Very smart . Great book to listen to. Great points . Bravo

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  • Jerry
  • 06-08-18

Interesting look at philosophy & religion

This is an interesting lecture on Augustine. A very unique and thought provoking series on a very interesting man.

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  • juan carlos
  • 16-03-18

muy bueno y facil

Es fácil de entender y permite a los que no está en el medio comprender las ideas principales del Santo

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  • Martini730
  • 04-11-17

Quite interesting backgrounder on Augustine

The beginning of this has some weird focus on Augustine's personal proclivities, like author goes on tangent, however overall I found the remaining lectures on Augustine's philosophy very well done.

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  • Dr
  • 13-08-17

Very listenable and informative

This is a good compliment to Books That Matter- City of god. Well put together.

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  • Scott Randall , Mr
  • 12-06-17

excellent

great presenter of a bunch of complicated thoughts and theories. he made it easy to understand.