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Miles Hollingworth is the author of Saint Augustine of Hippo, an intellectual biography of Saint Augustine. He is a past winner of the Jerwood Award, the Elizabeth Longford Scholarship and has been shortlisted for the Gladstone History Prize.
After the triumph of his intellectual biography, Saint Augustine of Hippo, Miles Hollingworth now turns his attention to one of Augustine's greatest contemporary admirers: a pioneering insight into the life and work of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.
After his intellectual biography of Saint Augustine of Hippo, Miles Hollingworth now turns his attention to one of Augustine's greatest modern admirers: The Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein's influence on post-war philosophical investigation has been pervasive, while his eccentric personal life has entered folklore. Yet his religious mysticism has remained elusive and undisturbed. In Ludwig Wittgenstein, Hollingworth continues to pioneer a new kind of biographical writing. It stands at the intersection of philosophy, theology, and literary criticism, and is as much concerned with the secret agendas of life writing as it is with its subjects. Here, Wittgenstein is allowed to become the ultimate test case. From first to last, his philosophy sought to demonstrate that intellectual certainty is a function of the method it employs, rather than a knowledge of the existence or non-existence of its objectsa devastating insight that appears to make the natural and the supernatural into equally useless examples of each other. Scattered in every direction by this challenge to meaning, this biography attempts to retrieve itself around the spirit of the man who could say such things. This act of recovery thus performs what could not otherwise be explained, which is something like Wittgenstein's private conversation with God.
This is an outstanding new examination of St. Augustine's political philosophy and of its bearing upon the roots of Western civilization. In this book Miles Hollingworth investigates how Augustine's understanding of discipleship causes him to resist the normal tendencies of Western political thinkers. On the one hand he does not attempt to delineate an ideal state in the classical fashion: to his mind, 'The Garden of Eden' can be an archetype for nothing on earth. And on the other, he does not seek to achieve an ideological perspective on the proper relations between Church and State. In fact his Pilgrim City is shown to lie beyond utopianism, realism and the normal terms of political discourse. It stands, instead, as a singular challenge to the aspirations of politics in the West; and so standing it calls for a reassessment of his position in the history of political thought. This book will be of interest to theologians as well as historians of political thought. It will also appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of ideas.