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Augustine and Roman Virtue by Brian Harding


Augustine and Roman Virtue by Brian Harding

Augustine and Roman Virtue seeks to correct what the author sees as a fundamental misapprehension in medieval thought, a misapprehension that fuels further problems and misunderstandings in the historiography of philosophy. This misapprehension is the assumption that the development of certain themes associated with medieval philosophy is due, primarily if not exclusively, to extra-philosophical religious commitments rather than philosophical argumentation, referred to here as the 'sacralization thesis'. Brian Harding explores this problem through a detailed reading of Augustine's City of God as understood in a Latin context, that is, in dialogue with Latin writers such as Cicero, Livy, Sallust and Seneca. The book seeks to revise a common reading of Augustine's critique of ancient virtue by focusing on that dialogue, while showing that his attitude towards those authors is more sympathetic, and more critical, than one might expect. Harding argues that the criticisms rest on sympathy and that Augustine's critique of ancient virtue thinks through and develops certain trends noticeable in the major figures of Latin philosophy.


'Augustine's criticisms in City of God of antique conceptions of virtue and happiness are well known, but it has remained doggedly unclear whether those criticisms are essentially philosophical in nature or the imposition of an alien theology on philosophical business. There is no better treatment of the issue in the literature than Brian Harding's patient analysis.' -James Wetzel, Villanova University, USA Mention -Book News, February 2009 Mention -Chronicle of Higher Education, February 13, 2009 Harding's work uses well known material from The City of God to make an original and important point. -The Philosophical Quarterly'

About the Author

Brian Harding is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Texas Woman's University, USA.

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Book Info

Publication date

20th October 2011


Brian Harding

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Continuum Publishing Corporation


220 pages


Western philosophy: Ancient, to c 500
Western philosophy: Medieval & Renaissance, c 500 to c 1600



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