The Political Writings of St. Augustine

0895267047.01._sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_The Political Writings of St. Augustine by Augustine of Hippo
My rating: 0.5 of 5 stars

The most important voice in political thought throughout the Middle Ages, influencing even St. Aquinas, was that of St. Augustine. Through excerpts of sermons, letters, and selections from City of God, the 4th-century theologians’ view of the world of man is shown both in its maturity and development.

Covering almost 360 pages, the vast majority of it being the words of St. Augustine, this book’s quality comes down to the introduction by Henry Paolucci and the appendix containing a lecture by Dino Bigongiari. Instead of helping set the stage for understanding the works the reader was about to encounter Paolucci’s introduction really didn’t do anything to give context just information about the man and his works overall. However the lecture of Bigongiari opens the reader’s eyes to understanding what they had just read, but that’s only if they made it to the very end of the book after potentially giving up trying to figure out why some of these selections were included. In fact the reader learns more in the last 15 pages of the book about St. Augustine’s political thoughts than the previous 340+ by the theologians own hand. It would have been better to have Bigongiari’s lecture as the introduction so as it give the reader insights about how to understand the author’s thinking.

The Political Writings of St. Augustine is a nice selection of the theologian’s writings about political subjects, however because of the way the book is structured the reader will not understand the man until the very end if they even get that far. I can only recommend the lecture by Dino Bigongiari presented at the end of the book, the rest is unfortunately worthless.

2 thoughts on “The Political Writings of St. Augustine

  1. Well, that is a bummer. When I saw that 0.5 I was getting myself all comfy for a rip roaring review blasting Augustine.

    Was it more disappointing, from your view, that this whole thing was ruined because of something as inane as “presentation”? I’m guessing that was all editorial decisions 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, I couldn’t blame Augustine for how his writing is presented in a format he hadn’t thought of. Once I read the lecture at the end and understood his political philosophy it was thought provoking.

      Yeah, the presentation–context is a better word–of each selection of Augustine’s writing was wanting and what to look for to understand his political thinking. There were some letters that I don’t understand why they were included even after reading the lecture at the end.

      Liked by 1 person

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