Reading Augustine

I have been immersing myself in recent weeks in Augustine’s thought—partly because of two courses I have been teaching on the North African theologian and also because of a major paper I have to give on his masterpiece The City of God (412-427) and its theology of history next week in London, England. It is exactly thirty years ago that I first read this work in detail for a Master’s thesis. It has been said that if you get into Augustine there is the possibility you will never get out. But never to have read him—that is to miss one of the Church’s greatest gems. The Ancient Church has bequeathed to the Church of Christ five treasures:

  • The canon of the New Testament
  • The doctrine of the Trinity as hammered out by Athanasius and the Cappadocians in particular
  • Chalcedonian Christology
  • The early martyrs
  • And the theology of Augustine

Read Augustine, you will never regret it. Begin with the Confessions (397-401) and then move on to his City of God. His work on Trinitarian doctrine, On the Trinity (399-413) is also a must. Of course, there will be stuff you disagree with. But you will be joining a discussion circle that has involved some of the greatest minds in the history of the Church—Anselm and Bernard of Clairvaux, Luther and Calvin, Owen and Warfield, to name just a few.

Anyway if blogging is rare in the next few days it is because I am focused on finishing this paper and then away in the UK from Dec 9 to 16.