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Augustine: Philosopher and Saint

Narrated by: Phillip Cary
Length: 6 hrs and 12 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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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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very enlightening

A very good investment in time and thought. Who st.Augustine is? what was he for? what was he against? his main additions to christianity, what is loved and hated about him.

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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.

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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 people found this 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.

15 people found this 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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  • Schmoopy
  • 16-06-20

Juvenile Approach

I was disappointed in this series in that it seemed more akin to a high school history class than a college philosophy course. The instructor was enthusiastic at times, which aided engagement, but downright annoying at other times. His propensity for heavy sighs undermined his stated passion for Augustine. He certainly seemed preoccupied with interjecting sex whenever possible, which felt like multiple times every lecture. His use of repetition focused on the trivial rather than what was significant in Augustine’s thought. The content seemed spot on, just too superficial to be considered college level.

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  • Josh Cole
  • 09-01-20

empathetic understanding required

Good introduction to Augustine, but Cary struggles to think with the Church and the philosopher whenever it concerns even remotely challenging teachings.

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  • REYW
  • 23-11-19

Good audio book.

It was a good audio book. St Agusine has been a character that always interested me. Even when I was a kid my mother used to tell the story about his convertion and the influence of his mother. So, when I was a kid I read his confessions and when adult listened the audio book. The Great courses has an excellent video lectures about his book The City of God and the audio book of the book itself. This book can be a complement for all the others to help understand the man, the saint, the philosopher and his circumstances and wide, deep influence thruout the time.

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  • John of Peoria
  • 09-09-19

Masterful Course

Professor Carey’s easy style and enthusiasm for the topic make Augustine come alive. The great philosopher and theologian becomes real and touchable in this course. Dissecting Augustine’s whirlwind of topics and treatises might seem too daunting a task for a course such as this, but Carey takes us on a jaunting and thoroughly enjoyable romp through it all.
Within all of that, my faith was strengthened and broadened with the course. I’d recommend it to any who wish to deepen their own faith and better understand how our beliefs owe so much to the wisdom and love of this great doctor of the Church.

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  • Chewwbaca
  • 06-06-19

Informative and compelling.

Good speaker, ideas were well presented. I bought this after getting to the Augustine section of Phillip Cary's other course on theology. This series really sparked in me a deep interest in Augustine's ideas. I will likely listen to this again.

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  • John Devere
  • 16-03-19

Shared Visions

I have read Augustine's Confessions and parts of them many times before. After listening to Phillip Cary, I think this is the closest I've come to understanding his writings. Cary helped me use my imagination and brought me along in steps to see the main points. Spending time with Cary and St. Augustine this way was a far better catechisis than my entire RCIA program at the local Church.