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Augustine's Leaders


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Augustine's Leaders by Peter Iver Kaufman
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In Augustine's Leaders, Peter Iver Kaufman works from the premise that appropriations of Augustine endorsing contemporary liberal efforts to mix piety and politics are mistaken--that Augustine was skeptical about the prospects for involving Christianity in meaningful political change. His skepticism raises several questions for historians. What roles did one of the most influential Christian theologians set for religious and political leaders? What expectations did he have for emperors, statesmen, bishops, and pastors? What obstacles did he presume they would face? And what pastoral, polemical, and political challenges shaped Augustine's expectations--and frustrations? Augustine's Leaders answers those questions and underscores the leadership its subject provided as he continued to commend humility and compassion in religious and political cultures that seemed to him to reward, above all, celebrity and self-interest. ""A lucid, powerful, and deeply thoughtful work. Kaufman takes a very skeptical historian's view of the proposals of several contemporary thinkers, myself included, on Augustine and politics. He is equally frank about those disagreements and charitable with those whose views he critiques. But the book rises above critique; it distills decades of careful linguistic and historical scholarship, and offers a compelling vision of Augustine's understanding of the relation between Christianity and 'worldly' activism. I may stubbornly disagree with (parts of) Kaufman's interpretation, but I learned a tremendous amount from this book, both to my edification and my correction; and the next time I teach anything about Augustine and politics, it will be required reading."" --Charles Mathewes, Carolyn M. Barbour Professor of Religious Studies, University of Virginia ""Political Augustinianism is a venture into a mixed bag of expectations: expect the rare graces of chastened power, compassion, prudence, and humility, but expect as well the dogged persistence of a politics of stupid self-love. Although Peter Kaufman denies that the rare graces ever coalesce enough to draw self-love out of the orbit of stupidity--a claim about Augustine's expectations--he does not consign political Augustinianism to its traditional cul-de-sac of world-weary pessimism. Augustine's Leaders is Kaufman's rendition of the bishop of Hippo's brief on the positive responsibilities of leadership--pastoral and political--in an inescapably fractured order. Throughout this vivid and concise book, Kaufman brings the seasoned perspective of an accomplished and wide-ranging historian of political culture."" --James Wetzel, Villanova University ""With clarity and erudition, Peter Kaufman provides an illustrative study of Augustine's views on leadership both within the Church and the res publica. In Augustine's Leaders, Kaufman offers to both student and scholar an insightful study of how Augustine confronted the challenges of his age and viewed the roles of those in authority. Augustine's Leaders, therefore, presents Kaufman's compelling analysis while advancing the dialogue of Augustinian interpretation among today's historians and theologians."" --Michael J. S. Bruno, St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie, NY Peter Iver Kaufman is Charles Matthews and Virginia Brinkley Modlin Professor at the University of Richmond and Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His essays on Augustine have appeared in The Cambridge Companion to ""The City of God,"" Journal of Late Antiquity, and Church History as well as in several of his books, Redeeming Politics (1990); Church, Book, and Bishop (1996), and Incorrectly Political (2007).
Release date NZ
April 10th, 2017
Illustrations, black and white
Cascade Books
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