Augustine of Hippo (354-430), priest, bishop and theologian, is one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity. He is known as much for his long interior struggle that ended with conversion and baptism at age thirty-two as for his influential teachings on human will, original sin and the theology of just war. Cherished as a model for the pursuit of a life of spiritual grace and criticized for his theory of predestination, Augustine is recognized as a living expression of the passion to understand and communicate the deeper meanings of human experience. With fresh translations drawn from Augustine's voluminous writings and probing facing-page commentary, Augustinian scholar Dr. Joseph Kelley provides insight into the mind and heart of this foundational Christian figure. Kelley illustrates how Augustine's keen intellect, rhetorical skill and passionate faith reshaped the theological language and dogmatic debates of early Christianity.
He explores the stormy religious arguments and political upheavals of the fifth century, Augustine's controversial teachings on predestination, sexuality and marriage and the deep undercurrents of Augustine's spiritual quest that still inspire Christians today.
Joseph T. Kelley, PhD, is founder of the Center for Augustinian Study and Legacy, associate professor in religious and theological studies, and former provost at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. As a board member of the Augustinian Heritage Institute (Villanova, PA), he helps oversee a new English translation series of the complete works of St. Augustine by New City Press.