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Augustine: A Very Short Introduction

Henry Chadwick

Publication Date - 07 June 2001

ISBN: 9780192854520

144 pages

In Stock


Augustine was arguably the greatest early Christian philosopher. His teachings had a profound effect on Medieval scholarship, Renaissance humanism, and the religious controversies of both the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. Here, Henry Chadwick places Augustine in his philosophical and religious context and traces the history of his influence on Western thought, both within and beyond the Christian tradition. A handy account to one of the greatest religious thinkers, this Very Short Introduction is both a useful guide for the one who seeks to know Augustine and a fine companion for the one who wishes to know him better.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.


  • Providing an accessible account to one of the greatest religious thinkers, Augustine
  • Places Augustine in his philosophical and religious context and traces the history of his influence on Western thought, both within and beyond the Christian tradition

About the Author(s)

Henry Chadwick (1920-2008) enjoyed international renown as one of the leading church historians of the twentieth century. He held senior appointments at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, latterly as Emeritus Regius Professor of Divinity, Cambridge. Chadwick's scholarship was complemented by his active involvement in church life. Ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1944, he developed a deep commitment to church unity and took a leading role in the Anglican and Roman Catholic dialogues of the mid-1970s.

Chadwick authored numerous books and articles throughout his career. At Oxford University Press he held series editorship of Oxford Early Christian Texts and Oxford Early Christian Studies, and co-edited the Oxford History of the Christian Church series with his brother, Professor Owen Chadwick. His acclaimed translation of Augustine's Confessions is available from Oxford World Classics.


"The ten chapters of this volume discuss Augustine's views of free choice, vocation, creation, and other societal questions, while it also reveals biographical facts of the sage's life."--Worship and Arts

"The book is a marvel of comprehension achieved without a loss of clarity. As a connected account of Augustine, the thinker, it will doubtless stand as among the most popular which now exist."--International Philosophical Quarterly

"I do not know of any other summary of the mind of Augustine which serves the reader so well."--History: Reviews of New Books

"The best brief introduction to Augustine's context and thought for the beginning undergraduate. Excellent for history, philosophy, and religion courses--clear, elegant, thorough."--Robert I. Burns, University of California, Los Angeles

"All the main thought elements of Augustine set in the attracively told narrative of a fascinating life."--John J. Glanville, San Francisco State University

Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    1. The formation of Augustine's mind: Cicero, Mani, Plato, Christ
    2. Liberal arts
    3. Free choice
    4. A philosophical society
    5. Vocation
    6. Confessions
    7. Unity and division
    8. Creation and the Trinity
    9. City of God
    10. Nature and grace
    Further reading