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Augustine Deformed
Love, Sin and Freedom in the Western Moral Tradition


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  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107428805

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About the Authors
  • Augustine established a moral framework that dominated Western culture for more than a thousand years. His partly flawed presentation of some of its key concepts (love, will and freedom), however, prompted subsequent thinkers to attempt to repair this framework, and their efforts often aggravated the very problems they intended to solve. Over time, dissatisfaction with an imperfect Augustinian theology gave way to increasingly secular and eventually impersonal moral systems. This volume traces the distortion of Augustine's thought from the twelfth century to the present and examines its consequent reconstructions. John M. Rist argues that modern philosophies should be recognized as offering no compelling answers to questions about the human condition and as leading inevitably to conventionalism or nihilism. In order to avoid this end, he proposes a return to an updated Augustinian Christianity. Essential reading for anyone interested in Augustine and his influence, Augustine Deformed revitalizes his original conception of love, will and freedom.

    • Examines Augustine's influence in the Middle Ages and the Reformation
    • Traces the development of post-Christian ethics
    • Explains the important features of the moral chaos of the last hundred years
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    • Winner, 2015 PROSE Award for Theology and Religious Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107428805
    • length: 434 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.7kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. 'Will' and freedom, mind and love: some pre-Augustinian debates
    2. Awe-ful Augustine: sin, freedom and inscrutability
    3. Inspirational Augustine: love, desire and knowledge
    4. Anselm: will, omnipotence and responsibility
    5. Augustine and Aristotle: the problem of Thomas Aquinas
    6. Separating morality and salvation
    7. The rise and fall of lopsided Augustinianism
    8. Naturalism revised
    9. Love, will and the moral sense
    10. Radical revisionists: Hume, Kant and Rousseau
    11. Atheist 'freedoms': liberal, totalitarian and nihilist
    12. The age of deception: virtual religion, virtual morality
    13. Whither Lady Philosophy: muse, call girl or Valkyrie?
    14. Reformed Augustine, genetically modified Adam.

  • Author

    John M. Rist, University of Toronto
    John M. Rist is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Classics at the University of Toronto and was Father Kurt Pritzl, OP, Chair in Philosophy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, from 2012 to 2014. He is the author of fourteen books, including What Is Truth?: From the Academy to the Vatican (Cambridge, 2008) and Plato's Moral Realism: The Discovery of the Presuppositions of Ethics (2012).


    • Winner, 2015 PROSE Award for Theology and Religious Studies

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