Publication date:19 April 2005
Length of book:360 pages
The study of Augustine's political teachings has suffered from a history of misreadings, both ancient and modern. It is only in recent years that the traditional lines of "Augustinian pessimism" have been opened to question. Scholars have begun to explore the broader lines of Augustine's political thought in his letters and sermons, and thus have been able to place his classic text, The City of God, in its proper context. The essays in this volume take stock of these recent developments and revisit old assumptions about the significance of Augustine of Hippo for political thought. They do so from many different perspectives, examining the anthropological and theological underpinnings of Augustine's thought, his critique of politics, his development of his own political thought, and some of the later manifestations or uses of his thought in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and today. This new vision is at once more bracing, more hopeful, and more diverse than earlier readings could have allowed.
For Augustine, theology was a kind of critical theory undertaken in the shadow of empire. In this probing collection from an outstanding team of scholars, the critical force of Augustine's politics is brought to bear upon contemporary civic theologies and the empire of capital. Out of these studies emerges a compelling picture of Augustine as an important resource for contemporary social theory.