St. Augustine

Many years ago, further back than I want to remember, I made a professional trip to Central America to visit professional schools of education in three different countries. Since I was going to spend a substantial amount of time on airplanes, I took The City of God by St Augustine to read. I finished it, (all 867 pages) but I had to reread, concentrate and spend a lot of time trying to put his ideas into my context. At the end of this trip, I came home and went to our swimming pool to assume the role of timer in my children’s swimming meets. Without moving directly to a classroom for use,  St. Augustine probably never became an essential part of my professional philosophy.

In looking through our library recently, I found a biography of Augustine, in 149 pages: The Restless Heart, by Michael Marshall. Unlike my first reading, this one focuses on his life and how he arrived at his theology. In his early life he worked his way through contemporary religions, Manichaeism and Gnosticism for example, and then left his home in Carthage for Rome. There, he became much more liberal in his life, dropped his wife for a lover and generally led a more inclusive life. His study of religions led him to Christianity which essentially took hold of his life. He was baptized in Milan in 387 A.D. and later returned to North Africa. He became Bishop of Hippo where he spent the rest of his life in the Christian church studying and writing.

This author takes you through Augustine’s life in a way that gives you the feeling for what the man became: a Christian.  The publishers have provided plenty of photographs to show the area he lived and worked in.

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