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Saint Augustine (Penguin Lives Biographies)by Garry Wills
Synopses & Reviews
The New York Times bestselling historian takes on a pressing question in modern religion—will Pope Francis embrace change?
Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope and the first from the Americas, offers a challenge to his church. Can he bring about significant change? Should he?
Garry Wills, the prizewinning historian, argues that changes have been the evidence of life in the Catholic Church. It has often changed, sometimes with bad consequences, more often with good—good enough to make it perdure. In this brilliant and incisive study, he gives seven examples
of deep and serious changes that have taken place (or are taking place) within the last century. None of them was effected by the pope all by himself.
As Wills contends, it is only by examining the history of the Church that we can understand Pope Franciss and the Churchs challenges, and, as history shows, any changes that meet those challenges will have impact only if the Church, the people of God, support them. In reading the Churchs history, Wills considers the lessons Pope Francis seems to have learned. The challenge that Pope Francis offers the Church is its ability to undertake new spiritual adventures, making it a poor church for the poor, after the example of Jesus.
With the keen eye of a writer whose own intellectual analysis has won him a Pulitzer Prize, Wills examines this famed fourth-century bishop and seminal thinker, whose grounding in classical philosophy informed his influential interpretation of the Christian doctrine of mind and body, wisdom, and God.
Pulitzer Prize winner Garry Wills brings the same fresh scholarship, lively prose, and critical appreciation that characterize his well-known books on religion and American history to this outstanding biography of one of the most influential Christian philosophers.
Saint Augustine follows its subject from his youth in fourth-century Africa to his conversion and subsequent development as a theologian. It challenges the widely held misconceptions about Augustine’s sexual excesses and shows how, in embracing classical philosophy, Augustine managed to enlist “pagan authors” in the defense of Christianity. The result is a biography that makes a spiritual ancestor feel like our contemporary.
About the Author
Garry Wills has translated four volumes of Saint Augustin‛s Confessions (Childhood, Memory, Sin, and Conversion), and is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Why I Am a Catholic and Papal Sin as well as the Pulitzer Prizewinning Lincoln at Gettysburg.
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