Essay on A Review of Peter Brown’s Augustine of Hippo

1539 Words 7 Pages
A Review of Peter Brown’s Augustine of Hippo

Peter Brown’s Augustine of Hippo is a dense, scholarly work outlining the entire life of the Catholic bishop. The University of California Press in Berkeley, California published the work in 1967. My version was the 1973 second paperback printing, found in the University library. Its smallish, scholarly, serifed, typewritten font allows for a instant respect for the subject matter: the words are at first imposing, but then revealing as their serious tone complements the complexity of the text. The pages are studded with footnotes, filling out this work with evidence of Brown’s exhaustive research. There is a three-page preface before the work, and, after the work, a
…show more content…
This want of something more concrete but metaphysical leads straight into the fifth chapter, “Manichaeism.” This details the future bishop’s obsession with the mysteries and dualism of the Manichean teaching, as well as Augustine’s work at spreading the Manichee philosophy, as well as his love for what it made him, rather that what it actually taught. “Friends,” the sixth chapter, details his life with his unnamed concubine among his celibate Manichee comrades. Next, the seventh chapter, titled “Success,” outlines Augustine’s first taste of fame as a writer and as a public speaker. Thus, Brown ends part I.

Brown begins part II, after the chronology, with a chapter on Ambrose, the bishop of Milan that helped Augustine to convert with his interpretation of the pagan philosophers and the similarities in the Hebrew prophets that the future bishop had misread, and their influence on the great Greek minds. Chapter nine, titled “The Platonists,” describes Augustine’s influence by the Plato revivalists Plotinus and Porphyry, who brought back the old master’s works into the mainstream mindset, and how Augustine reconciled Christianity with this existential thought, leading directly to the next chapter, “Philosophy.” It describes the problems that arose in and around Augustine with such reconciliation; the Platonist teaching

More about Essay on A Review of Peter Brown’s Augustine of Hippo

Open Document