9780268033149

Incorrectly Political : Augustine and Thomas More

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780268033149

  • ISBN10:

    0268033145

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-01-15
  • Publisher: Univ of Notre Dame Pr
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Summary

"Peter Iver Kaufman is admirably and ideally qualified to undertake this project of reading More on politics in the light of Augustine on politics. In vigorous, well-paced prose, he tackles an important and original subject." - Marcia L. Colish, Frederick B. Artz Professor of History, emerita, Oberlin College "Incorrectly Politicalwill attract readers not only because it is written with the author's characteristic flair and liveliness, but also because of his established capacity to bridge centuries of Western thought and history. Written at the dawn of the new century, this book acquires deep resonance from the events unfolding around the world, circumstances to which Augustine's and More's complex thoughts on political possibility still speak. If ever a study of such hoary figures from the Christian past deserved the label 'timely,' it is surely this one." - Kevin Madigan, Harvard University Divinity School Augustine in the fourth and fifth centuries and Thomas More in the sixteenth were familiar with the deceits and illusions that enabled even the most vile rulers to shore up their dignity and that gave repressive regimes an inviolability of sorts. Both men knew the politics of their times, both were involved in politics, and both were at one time politically ambitious. Augustine needed and made good use of government's powers of coercion and damage control in his struggle against the Donatists. The clear advantages of political protection and correction preoccupied More in his battle against Martin Luther. Both later changed their minds and believed, finally, the political imagination, based as it is on a desire for power, always and inevitably leads to devastation and suffering. Peter Iver Kaufman explains how and why we have failed to appreciate Augustine's and More's profound political pessimism, reintroducing readers to two of the Christian tradition's most enigmatic yet influential figures. Each had been disturbed by the reach of his own political ambitions-as by those of contemporaries. Each knew that government was useful-yet always deceitful. And each wrote a classic-widely read to this day, Augustine's City of Godand More's Utopia,as well as abundant correspondence and polemical tracts to explain why government on earth might be used, though never meaningfully improved.

Table of Contents

Augustine, Ambrose, and ambitionp. 11
Limitationsp. 45
Using government : Augustine and the Donatistsp. 71
Used but not improved : Augustine's City of Godp. 99
Thomas More, at work in the worldp. 133
Utopia?p. 153
Crisisp. 185
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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