Augustine: A New Biography by James J. O'Donnell

By James J. O'Donnell

Saint Augustine -- the prestigious theologian who served as Bishop of Hippo from 396 C.E. until eventually his dying in 430 C.E. -- is generally considered as the most influential thinkers within the Western global. His autobiography, Confessions, continues to be one of the most crucial spiritual writings within the Christian culture. during this eye-opening and eminently readable biography, popular old pupil James J. O’Donnell choices up the place Augustine himself left off to supply a desirable, in-depth portrait of an remarkable baby-kisser, author, and churchman in a time of uncertainty and spiritual turmoil.

Augustine is a effective chronicle of a unprecedented existence that's sure to shock and enlighten even those that believed they knew the complicated and noteworthy guy of God.

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12 Story Three: Progressive Religion’s “Third Way” One of the challenges modernity brought to religion was a different way of thinking about authority and truth. Medieval Christianity had built its sense of truth on the twin foundations of Christian myth and its interpretation by ecclesiastical authority. When the modern cult of reason hit in the eighteenth century, it presented new foundations for truth: observable fact and its interpretation by individuals using their natural capacity for reason.

Giddens and Habermas attributed the modern loss of meaning to an overgrowth of formal rationality in a differentiated society; in other words, to the creation and dominance of large-scale political and economic systems and the instrumental, technological, routinized approach to life that they foster. 26 In reflexive spirituality, we see people creatively combining intellectual rationality and religious tradition in an attempt to make modern society more meaningful. People who practice reflexive spirituality want to take the best from modernity—its scholarship, its commitment to reason and evidencebased argument, and its unprejudiced embrace of knowledge wherever it can be found—and combine it with the best of religion—its wisdom, its symbolic potency, and its respect for knowledge that transcends reason—to bring a vibrant sense of transcendent meaning to modern society.

But at first, it wasn’t obvious what kinds of field sites to investigate. If I had set out to study religion, it would have made sense to study churches, synagogues, and other religious organizations. If I had set out Reflexive Spirituality: Finding Meaning in Modern Society • 23 to study religiosity, it would have made sense to interview individuals about their religious beliefs and practices. But I set out to study how people who value reason find spiritual meaning. Where to go? To figure this out, I again drew on theory.

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