Identity of the True Believer in the Sermons of Augustine of Hippo a Dimension of His Christian Anthropology

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Augustine's Sermones ad populum reveal the active dimension of his Christian anthropology. There he answers the questions "Who is the true believer?" by tracing a path through the heart. Exploration of Augustine's understanding of the term cor shows that he regards the heart as the deepest center of personal identity, and offers further insight into the unity of flesh and spirit. By uniting his understanding of the heart to his thoughts on baptismal identity, this study contributes to a fuller appreciation of the richness, vibrancy and depth of Augustine's insights into the human person which the sermons show in a unique way.


"One comes away from the book remembering especially the many fine turns-of-phrase gleaned from Augustine's sermons (and the Latin text is conveniently given in the notes at the bottom of the page). If Augustine had a knack for the bon mot, Gowans has the eye to spot that bon mot." - Journal of Early Christian Studies

". . . Augustine's understanding of cor has not been part of the scholarly mainstream. Few works (and virtually none in English) have been devoted to studying this concept. Older studies of Augustine's anthropology generally concentrate on more intellectualist terms, such as 'mind' or 'will'; this author discovers, in the term cor, a more holistic view of the person. Hence, theological libraries in seminaries and universities, and centers of research on late antiquity throughout the world, can be expected to buy this book." - Joseph T. Lienhard, S. J.

"This manuscript fills a gap in Augustinian Studies. It is not a re-cycling of ideas already available in existing publications . . . . The author has a pleasing style and presents difficult material without burden to the reader. Her footnotes will increase greatly the value of this work for scholars in theology, spirituality, and philosophy . . . The bibliography is well compiled and can be extremely useful to those who wish to explore various aspects of this quite comprehensive work." - Mary T. Clark

". . . will be greatly appreciated by theologians and non-theologians alike. . . . Instead of viewing the sermons as a secondary source of information to be culled by scholars in an effort to enlarge their understanding of Augustine's other treatises, the author reverses this order and places Augustine's sermons at the center of her investigation in order to clarify the underlying principles of his Christian anthropology. This shift in perspective enables the author to introduce some much needed balance into discussions of Augustine's works that have skewed his thought in the direction of a disembodied, otherworldly form of spirituality that ignores the pressing concerns of incarnate beings in the here and now. . . . provides an admirable account of Augustine's efforts to find the point of harmony between the contemplative and active dimensions of the human spirit that permit a holistic view both of the self and of the self in community with the other to emerge in his writings." - Marianne Djuth

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