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Few thinkers have been as influential as Augustine of Hippo. From Confessions to City of God, his writings have left an indelible mark on Western Christianity. He has become so synonymous with Christianity in the West that we easily forget he was a man of two cultures: African and Greco-Roman. The mixture of African Christianity and Greco-Roman rhetoric and philosophy gave his theology and ministry a unique potency in the cultural ferment of the late Roman empire.
Augustine experienced what Latino/a theology calls mestizaje, which means being of a mixed background. In The Mestizo Augustine: A Theologian Between Two Cultures, Cuban American historian and theologian Justo González  looks at the life and legacy of Augustine from the perspective of his own Latino heritage and finds in the bishop of Hippo a remarkable resource for the church today. González  reveals how the mestizo Augustine can serve as a lens by which to see afresh not only the history of Christianity but also our own culturally diverse world.
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2016
|Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)|
Hispanic Christian Thought at the Dawn of 21st Century: Honoring Justo GonzalezEldin VillafaneAbingdon Press / 2005 / Trade Paperback$25.19 Retail:
$27.99Save 10% ($2.80)
"In a particularly insightful study, Justo González  both introduces the breadth of St. Augustine's thought to modern readers and explains why his theology should be considered mestizaje (characterized by in-between-ness). Augustine—as both Roman and African, as a mediator between early Christianity and medieval Christianity—becomes a potent model for the many others, like González  himself, who stand between worlds, cultures, and perspectives. It is a fine book."
—Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History emeritus, University of Notre Dame, author of Protestantism: A Very Short History
"I am deeply pleased to see the new book by Justo González  on Augustine, which places him rightly in the African context. The author's theme of the crosscultural intricacies of Augustine's life illumines many other issues Christians face today. It is an extremely readable book by a distinguished church historian."
—Thomas C. Oden, emeritus professor, Drew University, executive director, Center for Early African Christianity, general editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture
"There are many fine introductions to Augustine's life and thought. But it is hard to think of one more timely for a new generation of readers than The Mestizo Augustine. With concise elegance and critical appreciation, Justo González  recasts our imagination for Augustine's restless pilgrimage as the struggle and the wisdom of a mestizo. In doing so, he offers a compelling theological portrait of this massively influential figure of late antiquity and, importantly, of his continued relevance for our own era tempted by misplaced rage for purity."
—Eric Gregory, Princeton University
"Justo L. González  ranks among the most important and influential interpreters of Christian history in our era. The Mestizo Augustine is yet one more outstanding achievement. This groundbreaking study of Augustine offers compelling new insights into the life and thought of the great North African theologian and pastor from the perspective of mestizaje while advancing the overall project of mestizaje theology itself to a significant degree."
—Dale T. Irvin, president and professor of world Christianity, New York Theological Seminary
"Justo González  provides us with a unique and compelling retelling of the life of Augustine. He focuses on the mestizajes of Augustine's life to show us that his rich theology was born at the crossroads of peoples, languages, cultures, ethnicities, and social change. It is here that we encounter the deepest tensions of human existence but also where we can reflect most deeply on our understanding of God and our relationships with each other. We can thank González  for reminding us through the life of Augustine that the mestizajes that we try to forestall or even deny 'may well be a sign of the future from which God is calling us.'"
—Juan Francisco Martínez, vice president for diversity and international ministries, Fuller Theological Seminary
"In a fresh, masterful, and highly readable way, Justo González  shows the ongoing relevance and importance of the multicultural St. Augustine engaging his own contexts from a place between and within cultures. González  provides new lenses for us to appreciate the mestizo Augustine as a resource for theology, ministry, and emerging ways of being church for our own contemporary multicultural, multiethnic, and globalized contexts in a racialized society."
—Edwin David Aponte, executive director, Louisville Institute
Andy Le Peau5 Stars Out Of 5A Model for Our Multicultural WorldJune 6, 2017Andy Le PeauQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Augustine, the great church father, has been such a giant on the theological landscape for so many centuries, he has become a huge, lifeless statue for many. Justo Gonzlez pumps life back into our view with a fresh and fascinating look at the humanity and the competing cultures at work within Augustine.
Augustine was a mix of the African heritage and faith of his mother (Monica) and the Roman culture of his father (Patrick) that he learned in school. Thus, the mestizo Augustine. Mestizaje is a Spanish word meaning mixed breed that was (and can still be) pejorative. About a century ago in Mexico, however, the word began to be used to describe an advantagethe ability to take the best from two worlds and mold it into something stronger.
We see this at work in the disagreements Augustine had with other Christian factions. On the one hand, he affirmed the Roman view that authority was conferred by the office one held whereas the Donatists took the African perspective that it resided in ones virtue and character. But when dealing with the Pelagians, he reversed course and took the African viewpoint. Gods authority was found in his own person of love and grace not in his role as Judge which, according to the Pelagians, he was bound by the Law to administer with justice or be labeled capricous. Augustine was flexible and creative as required.
The bishop of Hippo, however, wasnt very self-conscious about how these two cultures were at work in and around him. He didnt seem to understand that more than theology motivated the Donatists. They resisted oppressive Roman rule (and so sometimes a Roman-dominated church) by affirming their own North African identity. The conflict was social, cultural and economicexpressed in theological differences.
Nonetheless, the overall strengths of Augustines mixed background offer a positive model for us now as it has throughout history. The Hebrew-Gentile mestizaje of the New Testament era, the Greco-Roman mestizaje of the early church, the Latin-German mestizaje of the Middle Ages and more all point to the value (even with its inherent tensions) of weaving together multiple cultures as a pathway to creativity, vitality and mission.