Reading this book has indeed given a very short introduction to Augustine's thought, major works and context out of which he was working, as well as some biographical detail.
Notable for me has been learning that some of the major influences on Augustine's thought were:
- Cicero's 'Hortensius';
- Neo-platonic writings of Plotinus & Porphyry
- Manicheism and Donatism
Regarding OUP's series 'A Very Short Introduction to ... ', I have mixed feelings.
- On the surface they seem very attractive, being almost pocket-sized, and do seem to give good coverage to their respective themes. However, once opened, the text runs pretty much from edge to edge of the page, with no room for making any notes. The second thing that irritates is that to my taste the texts are just a bit too condensed. I've read some of the Routledge Critical Thinkers series, and find these to be more useful. Not only do they give a more in depth presentation / analysis of the work at stake, but the pointers for further study are more informative.
That said, I might still buy the occasional one in the future, but would try to see it in the flesh first, just to make sure it's worth the bother.
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