Edited by Willemien Otten and Susan E. Schreiner
In the massive literature on the idea of the self, the Augustinian influence has often played a central role. The volume Augustine Our Contemporary, starting from the compelling first essay by David W. Tracy, addresses this influence from the Middle Ages to modernity and from a rich variety of perspectives, including theology, philosophy, history, and literary studies.
The collected essays in this volume all engage Augustine and the Augustinian legacy on notions of selfhood, interiority, and personal identity. Written by prominent scholars, the essays demonstrate a connecting thread: Augustine is a thinker who has proven his contemporaneity in Western thought time and time again. He has been “the contemporary” of thinkers ranging from Eriugena to Luther to Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida. His influence has been dominant in certain eras, and in others he has left traces and fragments that, when stitched together, create a unique impression of the “presentness” of Christian selfhood. As a whole, Augustine Our Contemporary sheds relevant new light on the continuity of the Western Christian tradition.
This volume will interest academics and students of philosophy, political theory, and religion, as well as scholars of postmodernism and Augustine.
Contributors: Susan E. Schreiner, David W. Tracy, Bernard McGinn, Vincent Carraud, Willemien Otten, Adriaan T. Peperzak, David C. Steinmetz, Jean-Luc Marion, W. Clark Gilpin, William Schweiker, Franklin I. Gamwell, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Fred Lawrence, and Françoise Meltzer.
“Willemien Otten and Susan E. Schreiner’s volume demonstrates how Augustine’s pioneering struggles with the self provided fertile ground for subsequent Western intellectuals to come to their own conclusions about the essence of the human experience. Readers will be surprised at each turn as venerable themes resurface century after century, invested with new meanings and bearings. Rather than identifying a stable, easily recognized, human core, these essays return the issue to the reader in a most fruitful way, where the self remains an ongoing site of questioning whose boundaries are far from easy to determine.” — Paul Kolbet, Yale Divinity School
“This original collection of essays by stellar authors in the field addresses the paradoxical question that animates the best of philosophical and philological inquiry into the future of the religious and theological past: To what current uses can the archive and apparatus of early Christian, patristic, and medieval thought be put, without yielding to anachronistic, myopic, and fundamentally narcissistic appropriations that are the standing temptation of scholars of all generations? Susan E. Schreiner and Willemien Otten frame the project in the most stringent and compelling terms. Their further organization of the material is effective, and the individual articles are well researched, steeped in the thorough analysis and interpretation of primary sources while paying minute attention to the voluminous existing scholarship on Augustine, those who influence him, and those whom he would influence in turn.” — Hent de Vries, Paulette Goddard Professor of the Humanities, New York University, and director, School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University