By Henry Chadwick
This biography of St. Augustine is a splended scholarly tale. I loved each web page.
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Extra info for Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (New Edition, with an Epilogue)
During his preparation for baptism Augustine was recommended by Ambrose to read the prophet Isaiah. He found the book beyond his comprehension, but was undiscouraged. Together with Adeodatus and Alypius he was baptized at Easter 387. About this time the little African colony at Milan was joined by another friend from Thagaste named Euodius. Converted and baptized at some earlier time, he now gave up a good post in the administration to join Augustine’s ascetic circle. A decision was made that the brothers should return to Africa and set up their house there.
He was particularly interested in the little communities of ascetics in the city which had received vigorous impetus, and some embarrassing patronage, from Jerome a few years previously (382–5). Jerome, a prickly character with a brilliant pen and acid in his ink, eventually provoked a storm of 42 back to thagaste protest against his activities, and left for the East pursued by horrid charges of Manichaeism and questionable relationships with some of the aristocratic ladies who looked to him for spiritual direction.
But his reading of St Paul and experiments in using Plato as a key to unlock his obscurities did not yet mean an explicit or public association with the Church. Could he not purify his own soul and by Neoplatonic exercises lift his soul to eternal truth and union with God? His relationship to the Church was suﬃciently protected by his resumption of the status of catechumen. His attempt at Neoplatonic mystical ecstasy, however, disappointed him by its transience. An Uncomfortable Call One day Alypius and Augustine were called on by a brother African, a devout layman named Ponticianus, highly placed at the palace and therefore an inﬂuential person for the ambitious Africans to know.
Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (New Edition, with an Epilogue) by Henry Chadwick