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Saint Augustine of Hippo is a major revisionist treatment of Augustine's life and thought. It has long been assumed - and not without good reason - that the main lines of Augustine's leading ideas have been more or less fixed since his death. That insofar as we should be aware of him in the twenty-first century, he is a figure described by his times. In a stimulating and provocative reinterpretation of Augustine's ideas and their position in the Western intellectual tradition, Miles Hollingworth's work carefully positions itself vis-a-vis the latest scholarship, drawing its inspiration from the actual narrative of Augustine's life. And by this means it returns a cardinal but long-neglected fact to the centre of Augustinian studies: the fact that there is a direct line from Augustine's own early experiences of life to his later commentaries on it. That his new Christianity did not obliterate what had gone before in blunt assaults of dogma and doctrine but actually caught a subtle and reflective mind at the point when it was despairing of finding the truth. Christianity vindicated a disquiet that Augustine had been feeling all along: he felt that it alone had spoken to his serious rage about man, abandoned to the world and dislocated from all real understanding by haunting glimpses of the Divine. This book is radical enough to be considered a major new treatment of Augustine on all fronts; it achieves its purpose by privileging a genuinely neglected element in hiswritings and in so doing it introduces us to Augustine as he emerges from the unique circumstances of his life, yet uncovering the ironies and inconsistencies that we might just as well find in our own lives.
Miles Hollingworth is Research Fellow in the History of Ideas at St. John's College, Durham. His writing on Augustine has won awards from the Society of Authors (2009 Elizabeth Longford Grant for Historical Biography) and the Royal Society of Literature (2009 Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction). He is the author of The Pilgrim City: St. Augustine of Hippo and his Innovation in Political Thought (also published by Bloomsbury), which was shortlisted for the Royal Historical Society's Gladstone History Book Prize.