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Summary

Since his retirement as Archbishop of Canterbury and his return to academic life (Master of Magdalene College Cambridge), Rowan Williams has demonstrated a massive new surge of intellectual energy.

In this new audiobook, he turns his attention to St Augustine. St Augustine not only shaped the development of Western theology, he also made a major contribution to political theory (The City of God) and, through his Confessions, to the understanding of human psychology.

Rowan Williams has an entirely fresh perspective on these matters, and the chapter titles in this new audiobook demonstrate this at a glance - 'Language Reality and Desire', 'Politics and the Soul', 'Paradoxes of Self Knowledge', 'Insubstantial Evil'. As with his previous titles, Dostoevsky, The Edge of Words and Faith in the Public Square, this new study is sure to be a major contribution on a compelling subject.

©2016 Rowan Williams (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

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Interesting

This book is an interesting concept. The former Archbishop of Canterbury is trying, seemingly desperately, to rejuvenate interest in Augustine the Priest through Augustine the Philosopher and at the same time give context to Augustine's works in a manner that the modern audience can understand without having depth into any one book.

I personally do not believe in God, however Augustine's writing have had a massive impact on the west and understanding him helps understand the west.

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A Niche Book For A Specialised Target Audience

If you already have a deep knowledge of St. Augustine's writings, of modern criticisms of those writings and of philosophy, Christology and theology in general, and above all, are a Christian, then I've no doubt that reading this book will be an incredibly enriching experience. But as an Atheist with only a basic understanding of philosophy and theology who just wanted to know the basics regarding Augustine's contribution to Christian thought, (specifically, why his writings are considered to be 'The Next Great Leap' in Christian thinking,) I was lost from pretty much the first moment I began reading and soon gave up hope of grasping more than the most superficial meaning. Indeed, having already mentioned modern criticisms of Augustine's writings, a great deal of this book reads like a rebuttal of books and theses that I've never even heard of, let alone read. And having been written by a former Archbishop, much of the rest reads like a sermon, intended to reinforce a faith which I simply do not have. And then of course, there are the parts where being an Atheist is a genuine road block; the parts which, in my faithless, heathen mind, essentially read as "If we assume that Invisible Unicorns are Pink, then that causes a massive, faith shattering contradiction. However, Augustine argued that they are Purple. And so if we agree with him, then the problem with believing in Invisible Unicorns ceases to exist." Which, I hasten to add, is not to belittle anyone's faith. Instead, I simply want to emphasise that this book has an 'INCREDIBLY' specific and niche target audience. And if you don't fall into all of the categories that I specified above, then you may as well save your money and/or time.