The Irrational Augustine takes the notion of St Augustine as rigid and dogmatic Father of the Church and turns it on its head. Catherine Conybeare reads Augustine's earliest works to discover the anti-dogmatic Augustine, who values changeability and human interconnectedness and deplores social exclusion. The novelty of her book lies in taking seriously the nature of these early works as performances, through which multiple questions can be raised and multiple options explored, both in words and through their dramatic framework. The theological consequences are considerable. A very human Augustine emerges, talking and playing with friends and family, including his mother - and a very sympathetic set of ideas is the result.
Catherine Conybeare is Associate Professor in the Department of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies, Bryn Mawr College.